North Carolina Confrence

As many of you know, I recently did some travel for work.  This confrence took me to the NGS confrence in Raleigh, North Carolina.  In spite of the 5 (yep, 5) flights and a rental car snafu, it was a lot of fun.

For the first time ever, I flew over my hometown- I was pretty excited 🙂

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I got in on the last flight of the night at 12:40 only to find that Alamo, where I had reserved my rental car, closed at 12:00. Wha?!?!  So this is me in the abandoned pick-up area of the airport waiting for a super shuttle at 2:30. Can you tell I”m fervently hoping no one will come by and kill me?!?!

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I didn’t get to do much sightseeing, but I was amazed at how many trees there are in Raleigh. Being a desert-baby I couldn’t believe that they were everywhere and no one had to plant them. I did get away to visit the North Carolina History museum. It is in the city center near the capitol and this old church (built abt. 1830).

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Meatless May also took a temporary break because, when in the South, you have to have BBQ.  North Carolina is apparently known for it’s vinegar-based BBQ and it is goooood. 

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No, I didn’t eat this plate of food by myself, I shared with a co-worker.  In case you were wondering, we had ribs, brisket, and some really, really good meatloaf.  The sweet potato fries were delish, and I enjoyed the fried okra, too. It is kind of like fried zuchini.  I was also had hushpuppies for the first time- they can only be described as little fried balls of happiness.  The biscuits were awesome, too.

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I met some really interesting people on the plane back home. On one leg, I sat next to a guy who was coming home from protesting Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech.  He had spent the night before in jail.  We had a very interesting discussion on abortion, gay rights and whatnot.

Another plane mate I met pretty much shared the whole trip. He was going from Raleigh to SLC to turn in his final project. Apparently there is a pretty well-known violin-making school in SLC and he is one of only 3 people in this year’s graduating class. One of these handmade violins takes about 200 hrs to make and sells (on the low end) for about $6,000.  I asked him to let me take a picture while he was checking on it between flights.

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Over all, I really, really enjoyed talking to and connecting with the people that use Ancestry and understand what makes them tick.  Like this nice lady. She brought these books she had made using Family Tree Maker to our booth to show them off. They are over 1,500 pages of her tree, stories, pictures and etc.  Amazing.

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I missed DMP and the girls like crazy and was so, so, so glad to get home (and it only was partially due to the 3 flights I had to take).  No one missed me too terribly while I was gone (except Chester) but they were all really glad when I came home. Birdy kept kissing me and sitting on my lap with her hand on my chin saying “I luff you!”. 

EJ was very excited to see me too, but it might have had something to do with the presents I brought- giveaways from other confrence booths!  They loved ’em!

May 22, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

An appropriate Monday Story…

Lately (like for the last week or so, every other day) Birdy has been commanding me not to go to work. She sweetly grabs my hand and say “No go to work”. 

I started out by telling her “But honey, Mommy has to go…” but that quickly turns into a “no”, “yes”, “no” discussion that ends in tears when I have to leave anyway. 

So I started to try a new tactic. I say “Why don’t you want me to go to work?”.  She’ll reply with something like “Because I luff you” or “Stay and play with my kids” (meaning MY kids, not hers…). 

It breaks my little heart.

April 27, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Domestic Outsourcing

I just read this article and comments on Blog Segullah (a literary blog for LDS women). I started to post a comment and decided to post my response here instead (and maybe link to this?) so I don’t feel guilty about creating a LOONG post.

Some of the thoughts in the post and comments make me sad becuase of the guilt the sisters are expressing in taking the “easy way” when it comes to the domestic arts. Perhaps it is because I’m a “working Mom” (gasp!) but outsourcing as much as we can free’s up my time to be with my girls and my husband. 

In addition to the time it “buys” me with my kids, it allows for me to have time to develop the domestic talents I am interested in.  I work to have the satisfaction of completing a craft, crocheted blanket, sewed curtains or whatever, but I don’t waste my time working to create bread, for instance, which almost always fails (without my beloved breadmaker, of course).

Last summer, when DMP was working, doing an internship and full class load and I was working we hired a housekeeper, I did Dream Dinners (only after I got sick of frozen food at Costco) and I was constantly trying to find other ways to “outsource” all of the domestic things at our house so we could have some time with the girls (not to mention sanity).

Now we aren’t so busy, and DMP is on the job hunt, so we have scaled back our “outsourcing” – now we (mostly) cook at home and do our own cleaning. 

The thing I guess that bugs me the most is the belief that seems to prevail among some LDS women is that the virtue is in the work.  But I think the virtue is in the actions- are you a better mom if working to hand wash and line-dry the clothing that you handmade for your children and baking bread from scratch leaves you tired, cranky, and unable to read story books or play with your kids?  Does sitting around the table enjoying a frozen pizza make family dinner and the conversation and time spent together less meaningful and important? What is going to have the most impact on your kids- the time you spend with them or what you do for them?

I really admire the way DMP does his “housekeeping”. As essentially the SAHD for the entirety of our marriage, he has been primarily responsible for the cooking, cleaning and child care for the girls. There are some days when I come home from work and the house is a mess, dinner isn’t even a glimmer of a thought and the kids look like orphans.  When I ask him what he did all day (instead of housekeeping) the answer is usually something like “I took the girls for a long walk up the canyon by the river. EJ found the coolest thing…”.  Do you think the girls will be sad that Daddy didn’t clean and make a “from scratch” dinner that day (even if I am :>)

I also disagree that just because our grandmothers (or mothers) did something a certain way that we should, too. I agree with many of the comments on this blog that they would have likely jumped at the chance for “outsourcing” and the conveniences we have today.  It is the same way I feel about people who choose to go through childbirth without drugs. I think it is super if you have personal feelings about medication, treating pregnancy like a disease, allowing your body to go through a natural process unaided and etc.  But don’t tell me that ‘women have been doing it this way for generations” as the justification because I bet most (if not all) of them would have been overjoyed if you told them you could numb them from the waist down :).

Am I saying that focusing on developing your “domestic” arts is bad? Certainly not.   If that is what you enjoy and what you have a talent for, then great. However, I don’t think we should kick ourselves when we have neither the time or the inclination to do some (or any of them).  I also agree with the principles of the blog that emphasis working to accomplish something and feling that satisfaction and I think life presents many opportunities for that learning both inside and outside the home.

I think that instead of focusing on the acts themselves, we should instead have a goal of what we want our home to feel like and who we want our children to be. If we focus on making our home a temple of beauty and peace does it matter if getting there involves a housekeeper, nanny and/or gardener?  If we focus on raising smart, healthy, happy, well-adjusted children of Heavenly Father does it matter that their clothes aren’t home made, their mom bought their class birthday cupcakes, they learned to write their name at preschool and they ate a lot of McDonalds? It is the end goal that matters and we can all get there in our own way.

Bottom line is that we are so blessed to live in an age of technology, advances in our domestic life.  There has been no other time in history that has enjoyed the freedom and access to information, opportunites for travel and learning, and ability to make social connections with all kinds of people everywhere.  I don’t think we as LDS women and mothers should feel guilty that we don’t do things the “hard way” and that we outsource task that we dislike  or don’t have time for (if you can afford it- why not?). 

When our housekeeper first started, I was kind of embarassed to tell people- like somehow I was a failure as a Mother and a Woman. My Mom told me “Don’t you dare feel guilty” and gave me the “permission” to let that part of our life go and focus on spending that time with the kids.  I deeply thank her for that!

In addition to focusing on what you want the end result to be I also think that the key is what you do with the time that is made more free by these conveniences.  Do you use it to develop a talent or skill that you enjoy? Or play with your kids or spend time with your spouse? How ’bout taking some time for yourself to excersize or read a book? I agree with the blog that if we spend this free time on empty or mindless activities, we are worse off.

I think that is the beauty blessing and opportunity of living in these days- just make the most of it and for heaven’s sake don’t apologize or feel guilt for it!

April 9, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 5 comments.

I have people…

It’s official and kind of ridiculous.  I have pretty much outsourced every aspect of my domestic life, thus freeing me for… more work? more time with my family? Hopefully the latter, and not the former, if I can help it.

So here’s the deal. DMP has an internship this summer in addition to his usual summer schedule of classes (big, ugly accounting classes with math homework that consists of a single “problem” that takes hours. Sounds Fun, Hon.!).  He gets home at 5:30 every night- just in time to log in for his SECOND job (thankfully he works from home).  I still work full time and things are, um, slipping at our house.  We just can’t seem to find time to cover the basics like cleaning toilets and buying and preparing food.   

So, my daughters already go to an awesome Babysitter who adores them and they adore her (outsourcing child care and nurturing- check!).  I finally convinced my in-house accountant that we should hire a housekeeper to come in once a week and clean.  It wasn’t too hard once I pointed out that he didn’t want to spend his precious spare time cleaning toilets, either (outsourcing cleaning my house- check!).  And, just last night I signed up for Dream Dinners, one of those places where you go and prepare 12 freezer meals in about 2 hours.  I can’t believe the accountant went for it, but according to him, it should positivily impact both our grocery and eating out budget.  (outsourcing feeding my family- check). 

I don’t blog about this to brag, in any way. We are not what you’d call well-to-do.  I just find it slightly absurd that in order to do our jobs and have time left over for the things we really want to do (i.e. spend time with each other and, most of all, with our girls) we have to outsource everything. I was joking with DMP that we just need a wife- someone to do all of that stuff (plus buy things like clothes, groceries, and etc.)  I’m also probably feeling a twinge of guilt, too. I want to be the one to nurture and cook and – ok, not clean, but two out of three aren’t bad. 

But, on the other hand, I’m also proud of what I’m accomplishing at work. I’m super-proud of DMP and how he is keeping things together in spite of the fact that he literally only has 2 hours (yep, 8:30 – 10:30) where he isn’t actually scheduled to be somewhere and even then, he is getting the girls ready.

Speaking of- I wonder if there is a way to outsource hairstyling duties for Lily in the mornings?

(BTW- I’ll totally post a review of Dream Dinners in case anyone is interested…)

July 9, 2008. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.