Friday, October 26, 2012

October Family Month

Yes, we're still alive and kicking, but busy.

About being busy - towards the end of September, Will and I made a pact that during the month of October, it would be "family month". Meaning no music projects, no extracurricular activities, no extra church stuff, no extra work stuff. JUST family time.

The whole reason for that plan was because our lives over the summer seemed to be completely run by exterior obligations and we really felt like we needed to shut everything out for a while and just be us.

It started out good.  That photo above was taken on October 1st. Will came home from work and said "Let's go on a family hike!"  And so we packed ourselves up and drove a mile up the road to the Twin Falls trailhead and all hiked up to the waterfall.

Preston hiked the entire way, and Taylor hiked most of the way up (and then got carried on Will's shoulders on the way back down).

As the month went on, we had a lot of people ask us to do things  -scouting activities, church callings, volunteering for service, music meetings, film shoots, music projects, etc.  All pretty "normal" stuff. BUT, all non-mandatory unnecessary outside of what is required kind of stuff if you know what I mean.

We were really good that first week at telling people no, and it was not easy.  When trying to explain to people the reasons why we weren't able to do things (to be with family), it was met with some guilt trips, confusion, and sort of, well, bad attitudes. (Yes I'm just going to be really honest in this post).  I had one person tell me that it was a bad decision at this point in my career to take a month off and not very smart.  Will was met with a lot of raised eyebrows, even got cornered in the church kitchen one night and almost forced to agree to going on a scout campout.  Thankfully Will doesn't respond to pressure like that and respectfully declined.  I told him "Blame it on me if you have to", and so I think he did. :)

However, as the month went on, we found it increasingly hard to stick to our "Just say no" plan.

Work has been crazy for Will.  They've sort of overloaded him with projects, and his so-called assistant hasn't really been doing much assisting and so this has all meant lots of after-hours work at home on his laptop trying to just keep up with the workload.  He told me he is doing the same amount of work in the next 2 months that he normally does in about 9 months time.  He gets up at 5 am and gets home around 5 or 6pm, and works until midnight.

On top of that, he is in the scouting program. He planned and carried out a court of honor 2 weeks ago all by himself.  He literally spent so many hours on it - almost an entire weekend just planning it and making phonecalls.  I asked him why he was doing all of this by himself  - and he explained all of this should be done by 3 scout leaders and not just him. I suggested he talk to the bishop about it, but apparently he already had and he was told that he was part of the "clean up the scout program" initiative.  In other words, Will was called because he actually gets things done.

Another unexpected thing fell into October- which was Grammy voting.  I mean, yes I knew voting was going to be happening during October but I didn't realize how much it would take of my time.  I'm trying to get a nomination this year, and I make no joke when I say trying to do PR for myself in obtain a nomination is much like another full time job.  Unless you're Beyonce, you don't just get a Grammy nomination.  You work very, very, very hard for it.  You spend hours emailing people and you must follow up with every single email. If someone emails you, you must respond because every email is a possible vote.  You send out endless complimentary CDs to NARAS members hoping they will listen to your music and consider it for their vote.  You post on the Grammy website, you search for new contacts and network, network, network. You make quality album trailers, and upload files for sharing within that network.  

And while you're busy doing all of that for your own music, you also have to do the same for everyone else soliciting you for your vote.  So I've received countless cds in the mail over the last month, which I've had to listen to, critique, follow up with the person who sent it, and do a bunch emails.  I'm fairly certain to say it is quite possible I spent about 8 hours per night on the Grammy network emailing people, finding contacts, and more.

It has been a LOT of work.  Some of this I did during the hours of 1 -4pm in the afternoons while Taylor took a nap and Preston had "quiet time".  And the rest I did after everyone else went to bed, and was up until 1 or 2 am in the morning.  

Thankfully, all the ballots are due in 3 days and so anyone trying to still do PR work for their album is a bit too late.  My Grammy inbox has been a lot quieter the past few days and it is a bit relief.  

We did manage to go on one date night.....

We went down to the waterfront in downtown Seattle to the new ferris wheel - it was cold! Brrrr, but very romantic and really fun. :)

We had a lot of fun giggling, reminiscing about funny things, and just being us. :)

Since Will has been so incredibly busy with work and such, I know he's been kind of ultra stressed out.  The hard part is that it's not stuff I can really help him out with, and so I've just been trying extra hard to keep the fort down on the homefront.  

The boys and I have done some fun things together....

Preston started pre-school, which is a co-op between 5 other moms and myself. The past 2 Thursdays (and next Thursday) has been my turn to host and so here are some pics from preschool at our house... 

Yesterday, we had a "Halloween" party for preschool and all the kids got to wear their costumes.  I'm so not into Halloween and am always scurrying around trying to find last-minute costumes for the kids. Luckily, we had a pirate costume for Preston from 2 years ago that was too big for him - and look! Now it fits perfectly! Haha!

The boys have had fun at Grandma and Grandpa's house...

Also at cousin Gwenevere's house...

Preston loves to help me bake, and this was the huge load of banana bread we made when we had like 2 bunches of overripe bananas to use up.... 

We went to Snoqualmie Falls and got ice cream and looked at the waterfall...

We took car rides...and cutie pie fell asleep a lot....

We went and saw the trains....on several occasions  because well, that is what we do almost daily after we got to the gym. 

Sorry, random photo I took of Mt. Si the other day because it's been getting cold enough here to get snow at the top. 

Oh! We did go to Home Depot one Saturday all together and picked out paint samples to try on our house....because, that was on our list of things to do in October - to paint our house....which, uh, still hasn't happened...but we're getting there.

This is the color scheme we want:

And here are 4 different yellows we've tried, but since this photo was taken I painted 4 more samples as well. Still haven't found the perfect yellow yet.

Oh, and one more crazy busy thing that was mandatory and I absolutely had to get done was transcribing my song "Illumination" into sheet music for an 80 piece live orchestra that I'm performing with in December.  It was a lot LOT LOT of work, and luckily had some help with babysitting and also the notation and got it finished.  But it was touch and go there for a while.

And that about brings us up to now - Friday, October 26th.

Our "October Family Month" is almost over, and I have to say, it did not turn out as we had expected or hoped.

BUT, we did learn some things.

I think that we learned that only in a perfect world (or an island in the middle of no where) can we shut the world completely out.  Saying "no" to anything and everything sounded like a really excellent plan, in theory.  We really thought we could do it, because in our minds our family was the top priority and nothing else even came close.

While that is true, I think we both realized that we still had to live in the real world. We still have to do our jobs, pay our mortgage, do our church callings, and a lot of other things. 

 If Will didn't put in the extra hours for his job, he probably would have been fired - I don't know?  Maybe not because his boss loves him and he is a big asset to the company, but still, he would have probably been in some trouble with a lot of higher-ups and that wouldn't have looked good. 

 If I didn't do all the PR for Grammy voting, then maybe I wouldn't have a shot at the nomination. Heck, I honestly have no clue if I have a shot, but I KNOW I wouldn't have had a shot if I didn't put forth the effort.

If Will didn't plan the court of honor, well there would have been a lot of boys who wouldn't have been recognized for their achievements.

An orchestra would have been out of music and not had much practice time to run my music.

And the list goes on and on.

The point is, though, and this is what I've learned:  We will never be good at everything all at once.  It is simply not possible to be the best 100% mom every single day, nor is it possible for me to be the best 100% musician every day, or the best 100% wife. If you ARE that, then you must be superhuman.  

There WILL be days where I am the worlds best mother and bake cookies with my boys, take them to see the trains, wash their clothes and perfectly fold them into their dressers, and give them sparkling clean baths before bedtime followed with a warm snuggle and a book reading.  But I guarantee I probably didn't do a single thing on my music that day, and probably not a lot of other things either.  And then there will be days where my kids WILL watch a lot of cartoons, stay in their PJs all day long, eat chicken nuggets for lunch, not bath or brush their teeth before bed, and no story but just a quick hug and kiss.  And maybe that day I got a big project done on my music.   

And there will also be days where I clean my house really nicely, bake my husband's favorite dinner, greet him with a smile and a kiss and look super cute for him and lure him into bed later that night.  And probably in the process neglected my kids a bit and didn't do any music.

THE POINT is, is that finding balance in one's life is never really perfected. Or at least I don't think it is. It's a learning process and we will always feel like a failure on some level, but in the end when we look back we will see the big picture and say "Hey, we did our best, and look at how well things turned out."  

I love my little family, my husband, and our life together and all of our challenges but also all of our blessings. I'm grateful for perspective and how Heavenly Father is so patient with me as an imperfect being.  I'm glad that I am much more forgiving towards myself than I used to be so that I can ever wrote posts like this.

Now I'm gong to go get my boys into bed, while Will is at a scout overnighter.  Until next time....