Friday, January 29, 2010

Two weeks on love and marriage, and where the two hopefully intersect.

The natural progression of marriage leads towards deterioration.

Hold up. Try that again.

The. natural. progression. of. marriage. leads. towards... deterioration.

How's that for a Valentine's topic?

Sigh, so romantic.

Today, my sinuses feel like two giant cannon balls have settled inside and are about to spontaneously combust my brain. I feel so ill that my gracious mother-in-law picked up my girls this morning so I can have a day of rest. So, while I'm lying here in bed, I had nothing better to do than come up with depressingly cynical statements about marriage. (Don't worry, you'll see where this is headed)

I'm going to engage in shameless self-promotion, and provide the following analogy (since I'm soooo good at those, right?). I am humbly offering my recommendation that it be included in all ceremonial services to be read before any two individuals tie the knot.

Ah hem, hear ye, hear ye (Pachabel's Canon in D would be an appropriate backdrop) :

Marriage is like being placed on an escalator. One of those flat escalators you see in big airports that run horizontally without stairs. Your destination to a happy life and fulfilling marriage lie at the end of it. Dependent on where and how you begin your marriage, what baggage you're bringing to the table, you will both be placed hand in hand somewhere along that very, very long escalator (i.e. the distances to travel will vary). But, here's the catch: the escalator floor beneath you will be moving you in the opposite direction of the destination you are trying to reach. You must walk backwards, at a good clip - against the current - if you plan on reaching the destination. If you simply stand still, holding hands and staring stupidly into each others eyes, you will slowly be transported to the end of the ride. Game over.

The current pulling you in the opposite direction represents all of the stresses: the bills, the finances, raising the children, leaving the lid up, the occasional monotony, family dramas, work loads, societal pressures, differing opinions, etc. etc.

Sometimes one will fall, sometimes one will even selfishly sit down, and when this happens - it is up to the two of you to gather yourselves up again and begin running to regain your placement. One may even occasionally piggy-back on the other when needs arise, but be careful about that one, because the strength of one cannot be compromised for too long without it eliminating the strength of both.

It requires discipline. Good shape. Making sure the other is right there with you.

Now, get walking. Even when you don't feel like walking. Even when you are sure you're a safe enough distance from the 'game-over' side. You must never. quit. walking.


For the next two weeks, I will be posting various topics on Tyler and I's own walk. The things that keep us going, what can trip us up, and hopefully something that will help you keep the pep in your step on your own escalator of life as well.

And if you're annoyed with my analogies, stop reading. Or, commiserate with my siblings, who can all attest to the fact that I bombard them with analogies/similes/metaphors more fiercely than the cannons bombarding my nostrils...

God is like a surgeon...using the skill of his knife to save your life (oooo! that rhymes!)

The Kardashians are like a group of monkeys occupying the nicest part of the jungle...really fun to watch but should be caged for your safety.

Families are like a flower pot...mostly beautiful with a few noxious weeds sucking the life out.

Sex and the City is like porn for women...full of tantalizing imagery and corrupt/false ideals.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Sweet Life Presents:

Cupcake decorating and
The Good Mom Smoothie

In my defense I did NOT catch the above happening until the instance I was behind the camera and had snapped the shot. The camera was promptly dropped, Lily was reprimanded, and the contamination was addressed.

I signed our playgroup up for a little culinary class at Whole Foods: so fun!

Also, while we're on the topic of whole foods, the following is a smoothie that is so tasty that my children guzzle this thing down as fast as a milkshake. I call it The Good Mom Smoothie.
It's your ultimate confirmation: although
you may have lost your temper over the sopping wet barbies found lying all over your freshly made bed linens, you overslept an additional hour by bribing your children with gumballs to go watch unmonitored cartoons in the living room, and you're not entirely sure whether Lily wore panties to the cupcake decorating event...

did serve them the kind of breakfast full of...
Omega threes, iron, beta-carotene, calcium, inulin, probiotics, antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, cancer fighting, heart disease eliminating, diabetes prohibiting goodness nature has to offer.

You win.

And, if they refuse to drink it, you've now eliminated all other variables and can rest be are indeed a good mother!'ve just been cursed with bad children.

The Good Mom Smoothie:

*Cup full of frozen berries
*A few good globs of organic yogurt
(most of the non-organic/light kinds still have high fructose corn syrup lurking inside)
*A couple of glugs of milk or fruit juice
*A few generous teaspoons of flaxseed (available for $1.50 PER POUND at ghetto Winco. Hollaaaaa.)
*A hefty handful of spinach leaves
*One banana
*Ice (dependent on how thick and cold you prefer your smoothie)

Blend, drink, and conquer the world.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A work of art.

His raspy, softspoken voice quivered with the sort of wisdom only gained through the ages - from years of hard work and experience. Over the pulpit he stood, slightly wobbly, and he spoke in a gentle, old tone. It was a typical Sunday a few weeks ago, and I sat listening - free from the turmoil of managing my rambunctious children. I was visiting my parent's congregation and my sisters were more than delighted to have an excuse to wander the halls with them during Sacrament meeting.
I can't even recall what the specific message was, because I was so struck by the following words that came from his genuine delivery. He paused for a moment, and began to sweetly speak of his beloved, elderly wife in the congregation, the girl who had spent multiple decades at his side. His words were soft, and his eyes glanced down in humility but his voice was filled with pride as he said,

"You should really see our house, the sort of place my wife has created. Well, you see, it really is a masterpiece....even the food she cooks is so beautiful I feel guilty eating it! Our home is a little slice of heaven on earth, a sanctuary, thanks to her."

The tears instantly started welling in my eyes as I heard this loving tribute to his lady. I try not to cry in church, the awkwardness of it all - especially with my teenage siblings surrounding to make fun of me at the first site of any emotion. But I couldn't help myself.

That word. Masterpiece. How could any woman not die in satisfaction knowing that her home, her creativity, her years of sacrifice and efforts had all culminated into that single description of the highest achievement: she had created a masterpiece! Something unique and beautiful, a place I imagine was filled with the type of love only she knew how to give, and service and sacrifice only she was capable of and willing to make. Just sign that final signature there, in the corner of your masterful work of life...and die a happy woman. You've done it sista.

And he noticed.

Just wrap me up in a blanket and rock me to sleep,
I wanna sob like a baby at the beauty of it all!

I was reminded of one of my Mom's sayings,

"Homemaking is a work of art."

I was also reminded me of one of my Professors, who bordered on one of the most intellectually snobbish people around, who once commented in class, "My wife is a smart woman. She holds two advanced degrees."

I'm all for forwarding your education, gaining every possible bit of knowledge this world has to offer, but the way he said it was so....exclusionary. I wanted to scream, "Oh yeah?!! Well I hold two advance degrees MYSELF you big pompous windbag...
their names are Lily and London...
and I'm 'smart' too."

No matter what further degrees I pursue, this work of art - creating my home, our slice of heaven - will no doubt be the hardest. And the most worth it. Tyler and I were lucky to grow up with our own mothers, each an amazing artist in her own right. Now it's my turn, time for

My masterpiece.

My degrees thus far, during today's cozy, rainy-day naptime:

And relatively unrelated (unless you consider this post strictly as a literal interpretation of your home as art via home design, which I don't recommend. Tyler can attest to the fact that the curtains really don't matter and it's impossible for dinner to taste that good when I'm behaving like a type A, perfectionist beast.), these are the candlesticks I found at a thrift shop that are currently rocking my world. Mmm, love them. Why would someone give these away, I ask you?!!

PS. I just re-read this post.
A little topsy turvy.
It started out all sentimental and then slowly slid its way to stupid.

Sorry about that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Part 2: The Big Day

Every bridesmaid has her responsibilities. For my own wedding, my bridesmaids' jobs included planning details, wedding gown details, talking me out of the those hideous fuchsia dresses lined in toule in Nordstroms, supporting my rather naive/determined/correct decision to get married at such a young age, insisting that I looked beautiful as I stood screaming and crying in my veil (naked) hours before the ceremony because I couldn't get my hair to style properly, and lighting candles and sprinkling rose petals into the jacuzzi tub of our honeymoon cottage of love on the lake (because there is something sick and twisted about your mother doing it, and if a bridesmaid isn't going to do it, who will?).
Mine learned quickly enough that simply attending a rehearsal dinner, muttering a tearful toast, and purposefully looking uglier than the bride were only going to be the tip of the iceberg of duties to earn a coveted spot in the nuptial process.

Yes, the job of a bridesmaid. Never appreciated enough.

I was fully prepared for payback. It was my time to return what I had so gratefully received. And yet, the day came...and there she was: calm and collected Shinae. Curse her!

It was so, well, easy.

It was a simply beautiful affair. The event was small, intimate, with plenty of favorite details laced in. Nae was the epitome of the gorgeous bride (wowsa! stunning!) - and even better - she was nice! No screaming, no orders, no breakdowns. Choose your own black dress, come up for a fun weekend at the cabin, relax...and enjoy the wedding. I did just that. Sigh, it was a lovely evening.

My duties were listed as follows:

1. Table centerpiece design (No florist...just Shinae, me, 4 buckets worth of wholesale roses for about $200, winter branches, and plenty of family to help).
Here's what we came up with:

Alternating tables of red (roses) and white (branches), with plenty of floating tealight candles at separate levels in various vases (all dollar tree finds!) It was BEAUTIFUL, if I do say so myself.

Sweetheart table:

2. Hair (which Sarah so kindly came up early to help with):

Laina in a classic Audrey bun (cuz when you've got a face and bone structure like that, your hair belongs slicked back to show it off, wouldn't you agree?):

Hannah banana and Cas:

Amy d.k.

Yours truly,
*(Jamie Dallas, I have NO idea how I missed a pic of your hair. I'm so sorry!)

Last (but DEFINITELY not least) the Bride:

Only sexy, big, bold, luscious curls would do:

And yes, that is me crying. If you only understood the type of hairstyles I used to plague Nae with for high-school proms. The miraculous transition from corn rows to a stunning birdcage veil merits tears:

Ready to go...

This was the part where it got a little crazy. Casady and I had the flowers loaded in the car and somehow managed to get ourselves stuck on the way to the wedding. BIG FAT FREAKING OH NO. To make matters worse, all the boys were already gone. We basically ran around in our stilettos like chicken with our heads cut off, begging neighbor after neighbor for help. No such luck. Warning to future Tahoe wedding parties: Subaru driving female residents on the lake are soooo not accommodating to ditzy blondes who show up helpless at their doorstep: you're on you own. It was up to us bridesmaids and girlfriends. YES. SIX WOMEN. HEELS, DRESSES, HAIR, NAILS, AND ALL. We pushed (not we, technically I drove) that sucker to safety. A mighty thanks is owed to the girls - Katie, the mud flinging onto your darling knit tights did not go unnoticed. Amy, good job on lying to Shinae until we arrived.

The ceremony:

Partaaay time:

My own handsome groom:

Later, Ty and I sneaked off to our hotel and woke up to this view:

And of course, the best part of all....

The return of my babies (We really missed them...)

It was a delightful get-away.

Congrats again, we love you Josh & Shinae.