Wednesday, April 28, 2010

keepin' it real.

It's that time again. Time to get a little bit "real."
{And no, the pictures don't "technically" have anything to do with the post, I just figure that pictures make blogs more here are some pictures to go along with the heaping helping of "realness" I am about to dish!}
You know how sometimes we blogstalk along on our happy little way after getting the kids off to school or the baby down for a nap, and we are feeling pretty good, and then we take a long, hard look at the seemingly fabulous lives of other people and start to think things like "I wish that I had my crap together the way she does." or "I wish I was a patient mom like her." or "I wish I was creative like that." or "My life doesn't look anything like that, therefore, I must be a total loser and something must be seriously wrong with me." or "I wish I was remodeling a chateau in the French Countryside." or "I wish people cared enough to read my 5-page-long dissertation on how Maytag is evil and sold me a lemon of a washing machine." or some of us take a different approach and say something along the lines of: "All bloggers are just fake as fake can be, and they write as though their lives were perfect, and it's really annoying, and it makes me feel sort of like garbage (or at the very least terribly inferior) when I look at their pictures and read about their lives, and they are just fake, fake, fake, and freaking FAKE!" ...and so on. And then you find that you feel crummy, and have lower self-esteem than you did 10 minutes ago... Have you ever felt like that? Well, this is a blog post about that.
My life isn't perfect. Not even close. I have insecurities. I have a lot of self doubt. I have one of the shortest "fuses" (aka tempers) known to man. I am HUGELY hard on myself. Okay, yes, my husband is awesome and brings out "good" parts of me that I didn't even know existed before I met him, but that doesn't mean that I get any credit for it. BUT, yes... my life is really, really great. Why? (You may ask.) Because I focus on the good. I celebrate (publicly, here on the blog-a-log) even the smallest victories, and even the simplest of moments. Blogging helps me see the beauty in the every day. It's not about being fake. It's about being optimistic. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to tell you a bunch of things in my personal life that I feel are perfectly imperfect.
1. My kid is smarter than me, and sort of a huge turkey. Those Blackwell genes run deep in that little man, and I find that I am always running (okay, more like sprinting) to catch up. Sometimes he does things that embarrass us. And no, I'm not talking about your everyday, run of the mill embarrassment. I'm talking about the jaw dropping, cheek burning, "He did W.H.A.T?" kind of embarrassment that only a select few mothers are lucky enough to know. He thinks that most awesomely bad ideas, are sort of the best ideas he's ever heard. I love him so much, and his goodness runs infinitely deeper than his naughtiness, but sometimes I feel like a failure, and like I'm never going to be able to "get it right" enough to do right by him in the end. It is a s.c.a.r.y feeling.
2. I drive a pedophile van. (A WHAT? You may ask.) Just what I said. I drive a pedophile van. Both of our cars are/were paid off. My car (a Saturn - boo!) kept breaking down. After it ate it's 3rd transmission in 4 years and dragged us through a whole other host of problems, we donated it to charity, and prayed that they would be smart enough to scrap it for parts. Then the hubs' car started giving us trouble. Like, thousands of dollars worth of trouble. So, after awhile, (and pretty much putting our mechanic's kid through college) we gave up on it too. Then Kyle's parents said, "Hey, you can borrow this (HUGE) 1980s van of ours (that we bought for $500 dollars on until you can save up enough to buy a new car!" So we did. And that is what we drive. It is a huge, gas-guzzling pedophile van. It is sort of awesome.
Here is the thing. The hubs is a a business consultant and entrepreneur (who I happen to think is really innovative and smart...thus, I fully support him in his endeavors to provide for his family on his own terms. I have my own house, my own yard, and a glorious, white pedophile van that I can drive any time I want. What more could a girl ask for?) Sometimes we make great money. Sometimes we make a little bit of money. Sometimes we make no money. And, as a result of our ever-fluctuating earnings, we sort of really hate bills and/or debt of any kind. We avoid them like the plague. We avoid having car payments. We avoid owing people money at the end of the month. We pay cash for everything. If we can't afford something, we wait for it...wait for it... and then pay cash. It is the same for cars. It is the same for everything. And do you know what? I have no financial stress in my life. None. I don't lie awake at night wondering how we're going to pay our bills, because we haven't taken out big loans. We never have to fight about money. It is very nice. Sure, my vehicle is ugly as sin, and mothers everywhere eye me suspiciously when I drive through their neighborhoods, but all-in-all, I don't really care. (Okay, sort of hate the gas bill from time to time, but... at least it's affordable.) I choose to share this so that those of you who think that cars and appearance are important can point and laugh at me, cause hey - this post is all about keepin' it real, and the real truth is: I drive a pedophile van.
3. I have never had a pedicure, and I don't paint my toenails. I don't know if I will ever have a pedicure. It sounds fun, and right up my alley, but I just can't justify paying someone $30 plus dollars to mess with my feet. I'd rather go eat sushi with girlfriends. Every time.
4. Sometimes I lose it and yell at my kid at the top of my lungs, and then realize that most of my windows are open, and my most immediate neighbors happen to be: 1)1st counselor in my Stake Presidency 2) 2nd counselor in my Stake Presidency, and 3) my Bishop. And then I want to die of embarrassment. It's a wonder they still called me to the Primary after all they must have seen and heard.
*Disclaimer: It needs to be said that I didn't get attacked for having an overly happy blog or anything, but I have recently had a great conversation about how we, as women use "happy blogs" as just one more excuse to beat ourselves up and think there is something wrong with us, or resent other women. I don't want my blog to be a tool that someone else uses to gouge their eyes out to spite their face. I want my blog to be positive. I also want it to be honest. It has (admittedly) been VERY kittens and rainbows ever since I got pregnant, but in all fairness - life REALLY is kittens and rainbows, because I have a husband who loves me, a healthy son who makes me laugh, and there is a living, kicking healthy baby boy in my belly, and if my house burned down, my left arm fell off, and my dog ran away, life would still be kittens and rainbows because there is a baby growing inside of me! Sorry. If you don't like it, I would highly recommend reading a different blog.
5. My house is an ever-lovin', a lot lately. It is not perfect. If I know I want to take a series of pictures for the blog-a-log, I tidy up first because laundry, dog toys, and dirty dishes can sort of detract from the subject I am actually photographing. Plus, I think showing a dirty house to the world (while it is technically a rather genuine and real thing to do) is pretty disgusting. Lately, I just don't feel good enough to do it all. When I have the energy, sure I like to keep things super clean and orderly, but right now, I don't have the energy, so I'm cutting myself some slack. I think we all should cut ourselves a little slack.
6. I cried about losing my cats, like, a lot. Like, so much it's not even right. No one should cry that much about cats. But I totally did. There it is. I have a 96% chance of becoming a crazy cat lady in my elderly years.
7. I care about looking too skinny or too fat. Even though I'm not fat, and even though I think that it's stupid to care about being or looking fat. I'm one of those annoying girls who wants to lose weight if her jeans get a little tight. (Okay, technically this may also be because I am super cheap and don't want to have to buy new jeans...) And then I feel guilty about that. I also care about looking too skinny when pregnant because I think that the most insulting thing anyone could ever say or think about me is that I would be vain enough to diet or try to keep my weight down at the expense of the health and nourishment of my baby. I eat everything in sight while pregnant (which is why I love being pregnant - hello!) I eat lots of healthy things that I don't even like when I'm pregnant just because I know it's good for the bay-buh. I do anything and everything I can think of to give my baby the best start possible, and it really bothers me when people think that I don't do these things all in the name of vanity. So, what I'm saying is: I care what people think about me, and I think that is stupid. Like, REALLY stupid. I'm working on it.
8. Sometimes I'm a bad friend and forget birthdays, anniversaries, and the like. I also forget to call, email, or text people back because I am a ginormous space cadet, and I just forget. I am also bossy. (Wha? No way! - You say.) I always have been. When I was a little girl playing Barbies with my friends, I would script out what the Barbies were going to do in my head, and then I would say "No, YOUR Barbie says THIS next."and my friends would look at me like "Um, I actually have a mind of my own, but I am also a peacemaker by nature (Yes, I always preferred to hang with the chill peacemakers - are we surprised?), so, um whatev. I guess we'll do it your way." And they then would robotically repeat whatever puppeteer Lola told them to say. It must have been really fun to be my friend. (P.S. I seriously don't do this least I hope I don't...wait, do I still do this? I mean, not with Barbies...but in general? Maybe I do. If I do, just go ahead and add it to my list of flaws...if you have any more room on your paper, that is.)
9. Make up is my friend, and I have learned how to make it work for me. I don't look fantastic in the morning. (Well, okay, the hubs says I do, but he is required by husband law to say that. Which, I appreciate, by the way.) I don't look fantastic for most of the day because I am not going anywhere and can't talk myself into putting it on. When I get ready for a photoshoot, I put on a bunch of make up in an effort to look my best. So does everyone. Don't take a photographed face at face value for heaven's sake. Don't compare your make-up-less self to an airbrushed picture of some blogger or some model in a magazine. Why would you do that? Oh wait, because you're a woman and we are, by nature self-defeating and self-abusive? Oh, okay, that's true. But stop doing it anyway.
10. In conclusion, life isn't perfect. No blogger is perfect. You don't have to avoid becoming a blogger because you think that they are big fat liars who just try to fool everyone into thinking that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. You don't have to beat yourself up because you don't cook, and clean, and take your kids on insanely creative outings the way that many bloggers (myself excluded) do. We can all just learn from each other. When I see a blog that talks about something really creative that a mother did with her children, guess what? I can replicate it! I don't have to be as creative as she is. I can totally bite her ideas! (yay!) When I read the blog of someone who is really positive and inspiring, guess what? I can learn from her example and adjust my attitude so that I, too can see the beauty in every day life! (yay!) No ONE blogger invented the idea of happiness. We all get to create that every single day (if we so choose.)
I could look at my life and say: "We don't have millions of dollars, and we don't go on expensive trips, and I struggled with infertility for 5 years, and I drive a pedophile van and have never had a pedicure, so I am completely justified when I say to you that the glass is half empty!!!!!" But I choose to look at the good.

I choose to say: "I love my husband so much it hurts. I love him so much, that I would give up all the riches the world has to offer and sell trinkets and lemonade on the side of a dirt road just to be with him. Because he is kind and good. Because he is sexy, and I still want to jump on him after 9 years of marriage. Because he brings out the best in me, and also loves the very worst parts of me. Because being with him IS happiness, and I still can't believe that I found that, and I would give up anything to keep it. And "going without" doesn't feel like "going without" when you're doing it because you believe in and get to be with the person you love most in the world."

I choose to say: "My car does not define me. A big pedophile van is safe, and roomy, and sort of awesome in its own ghetto way. And best of all, I get to go to bed at night with a clear conscience knowing that the things I have are mine. I won't get phone calls from strangers who want money at the crack of dawn every morning. I don't have to fight with the hubs about who spent what. All I have to do is drive an ugly van, and I get financial freedom. We can finance a car any day of the week. I choose not to. There is so much peace in that. I could choose to let this make me unhappy. I could choose to worry about what other people think, but I am making a different choice, and man is it working for me!"

I choose to say: "Those 5 years of infertility were hard. So hard, in fact, that sometimes it felt like it was going to break me. But I wouldn't trade one day of it. It hurt, and I struggled, and I cried (like, more than was maybe necessary) but I also grew. It reminded me to savor and enjoy the child I already had, and it has also enabled me to REALLY understand how miraculous pregnancy is now that it's finally happening again. I wouldn't trade the perspective I have now for anything. I'm thankful that it wasn't easy. I'm happy that it wasn't handed to me. I'm thankful for the ability I now have to empathize with anyone who has struggled with infertility. Mostly, I'm grateful that I can throw up for 20 weeks straight and smile through it all. Waiting 5 years will do that to a girl. I am experiencing the kind of joy that 20 weeks of vomiting can't extinguish. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!"

So, I apologize if my blog posts tend to make you feel a) like a loser, or b) like I'm super fake and lying to myself and others. However, I'm not sorry for being an optimist. I'm also not sorry for living from a place of gratitude. It doesn't make any sense to me to waste mental and emotional energy wanting things to be different or better than the way that they currently are. I really love my life. This blog helps me celebrate that. A lot of blogs celebrate that. And rather than use those blogs as a weapon to beat ourselves to bloody, unrecognizable pulps, we can use them for inspiration. No one has a trademark or patent on inspiration. It is free for all of us. It is ours for the taking. So go get some. As much as you want. I know I do. I am a greedy, greedy joy girl these days...and I just can't be sorry for that either! (sorry.)

Your turn. What's real about you?


Kristina P. said...

And this is why I love you.

I actually do care quite about if people like me or not. I think that I present myself as someone who is super self-confident and don't care if I offend people, but that's not true.

I do want to be funny, but not actually offensive.

the Lola Letters said...

Kristina - I can totally relate! I want to be funny and have "voice" but I don't want to be offensive either, and the fact is: There is a super-fine little line and it's hard to see/not cross it! Funny/non-offensive is a tricky little bugger to get hold of indeed.

But I must say - you do it artfully!

Andrea, Mrs. said...

Oh my we are so similar. I have only ever had one pedicure--it was lovely. It was a birthday gift. So, of course I accepted. But, will I pay for one? Probably not. Heheheh...

My favorite show is "What Not to Wear." It's the best because they tell us that we can be happy with who we are NOW. I love that. I wear makeup because it makes me feel better. I sometimes wish my pants didn't fit so tight. But, I'm with you--life is awesome! Why sweat the small stuff?

And, I also think that blogs can be whatever you want. I recently read a book where the author said that she keeps two journals. One is about all the good stuff in her life--the journal she's happy to pass down to her posterity. The other journal is about all the hair-pulling stuff that happens. She reminded us (the readers) that that journal is for the stuff the Savior can help us out with. I like that. My blog is my happy journal. The other stuff, the other real stuff, that's stuff that I don't have to share with the world.

Life is all sunshiney. Just look!

the Lola Letters said...

Andrea - I know! That's a great way of putting it! I also think that our words have power to create. When we talk about and notice the good, we create more of it. When we focus and harp on the bad, that's what we create.

And honestly, who wants to go around reading blogs about how bad life is all the time?

I wouldn't read them! The world has enough disappointment and heartache as it need to go LOOKING for it!

Scott and Jillian said...

I was nodding my head in agreement the whole first paragraph!

I've been beating myself up a ton lately. There isn't enough room in the comment box to list all the things I beat myself up about constantly. Being on the computer right now instead of getting dressed/cleaning the house/playing with the kids, etc is one of them. Why do we beat ourselves up so much?!

But, thank you for the reminder that everyone else feels the way I do, and to look at all the blessings and good things going on in my life, rather than all the things in my life that I am seemingly failing at. :D

Lindsay Ruiz said...

OH Laura, you are one HOT pregnant woman! It looks good on you. I hope you are doing well,well, well, and eat as much as you like. It's like a vacation for me. I eat whatever I want and I'm supposed to look fat. Sweet! Then the miracle of all miracles is that nursing sheds it off. Love that.

Anyways, my "keeping it real" deal is that I can't keep track of people or friends. I was the kid growing up who had the 1 best friend. That's all I really needed. Now as an adult I have so many people who I've met through different ways, I can't possibly keep in contact with them. I hate it, because each one is something special, but it overwhelms me. Like you, I totally want to hang out and have play dates with the kids. You are a joy to be around, but in all the hustle and bustle with my three kids, I just can't find the time to get away. Dont' think I don't care, it's just me, keeping it real. Love ya!

Kierstin said...

Hey Laura, It's Kierstin (Celeste's friend and fellow Eva/Gourmandies piggy)! I love that you blog about your insecurities. We all have them, don't we? I try my best to put on a strong face a lot of the time, but the truth is that I have a really sad, broken side of me too. At times I feel like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. One moment I'm happy and peachy-keen, and then the next I F L I P out at my sweet little ones... just because they're being, well, little ones. I suck at acknowledging people's special days (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and I have a shy side that comes out at the most inopportune times so people think I'm a snob. I'm really not. I'm actually pretty funny and easy-going, and I am fiercely loyal and will kick in your face with my high heels if you mess with my friends/family. I love with all of my heart and thus can be extremely sensitive and take offense when no offense was meant. I am a complete drama queen sometimes and have issues with my dad leaving when I was 2 years old, and hate that I love him despite his dysfunctional alcoholism and 'come here, go away' attitude in life. All in all, I'm normal, but like you, I love to focus on what is GOOD and HAPPY in my life... not what sucks and is even suckier. I'm happy to have met you, I think you're fab and I hope we get to have more foodie nights until 11pm, because those moments are what make us happier and less sucky. xo (p.s. I'm not even going to proof read this comment, so if it doesn't make sense, or sounds a wee bit cooky.... well, what can I say? That's me)

Barbaloot said...

I must be missing all those "life is perfect" blogs because I feel like I see a lot of posts like yours---life isn't perfect but I'm happy and I won't apologize for it. I can appreciate that. Also, where are the pictures of this so-called pedophile van?

TerresaE said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful pictures. Beautiful lady (inside and out).

Katie--the amazing one, not your other friend named Katie. She's amazing, too, but not the same Katie as me-- said...

I enjoyed your post and stumbled upon this article shortly after reading yours. There are a lot of things people don't see.

Just SO said...

You and your pedophile van are seriously awesome. I love that you have such an amazing outlook on life.

BTW did you ever show a post about those lovely blue frames that you painted?? If so could you send me the link?

Just SO said...

ACK!! I forgot to say that I LOVE these pictures and that you look beautiful.

Natasha said...

Beautiful! We need more positivity and happiness in our world.

Gorgeous pictures too!

Best wishes for a relaxing weekend,

Jen Nelson said...

I love you so much it's ridiculous! Like really, really ridiculous!

Could Kort maybe work on being just a *little* bit excited about becoming a big brother? Please?

I. Love. Your. Belly. You are glowing and gorgeous.

Thank you for giving me something so entertaining to read while I nurse my little miracle.

Life with Kaishon said...

I love this post! I wrote one like it many moons ago. Everyone is just SO flipping perfect in blog world. I am NOT perfect.
I yell ALL the time.
I am fat and I don't change it.
I don't really do much work around the house because I think adventures with the kids and blogging are WAY more fun than cleaning.
I want a baby and I can't talk Gary into it for the life of me.
That isn't really a huge issue but since I was throwing everything else out there I thought I would throw that out too.
LOVE your pictures. You are SO pretty.

Green eyes are my favorites.
Love your money situation! Paying cash for everything. So smart.
I even love your pedophile van. XO

Michelle Kay said...

I love your blog! Great post! You always have great insight.

May I ask something a tad shallow? Where in the world did you get those amazing shoes?! I LOVe them!

Tezzie said...

Lola; all of the above facts are what make you amazing...I've never felt that you've tried to portray yourself as someone you're not.

You keep it real, and that's awesome. Obviously you're beautiful on the outside (I'm 100% positive you're just as gorgeous without your makeup)...but more importantly, you're beautiful, thoughtful and kind on the inside. THAT'S what makes me follow your blog and makes me like you so very much <3

Buckeroomama said...

This is such a beautiful, genuine post. I could almost hear your "voice" as I read through... even though I don't know what you really sound like. :)

I don't think there is ever anyone whose life is perfect as peaches and if anyone's seems that way, I say it's a matter of perspective. I choose to focus on the positive on my blog... and no, my life is not perfect either, but I love it for all its imperfections.

☼¨`*•.♥RocĂ­o♥.•*¨`☼ said...

I am going to tell you only one thing...why... bc there is no way I can write what I want to write in English =) but I am going to try to put it in two words!

***YOU ROCK!!!***

Yep! you totally do!
(but I am sure you already knew that =)

Loving all your pictures!!!

Chris Sambrano said...

All I have to say is "you go girl!!" I couldn't have said it better! I choose to look at the glass half full also (most of the time, that is), but when I was in my 20's, maybe 30's, a little in my 40's, I wasn't always optimistic in my thinking. I wasted a lot of time worrying about what others think but then I got older (way older now) and I see life as a huge blessing and whatever comes my way, I try to hit it head on and get on my knees and have my Heavenly Father and my Savior get me through it. The atonement is such a blessing when you really learn how to use it. Anyhow, thanks for your honesty. By the way, you look adorable pregnant:)

the Lola Letters said...

Michele - I actually got those shoes at "Ross" (one of my all-time favorite stores ever!) for like $14 dollars or something. I LOVE them! The heel is super comfy and easy to walk in. I was excited to find them because they reminded me of a pair I saw in an Anthropologie catalog for $160. I wanted them SO BAD but could have never justified actually purchasing shoes at that price!

The brand is "Dollhouse" you may be able to find some online (ebay?) for a great deal.

Banford Family said...

Love it! Wanted to leave a comment about Kortland. I few weeks ago at Grandma's house Kort and Moses (my 4 year old) we're playing a game where I would ask them a question about Jesus and once they answered the question they would race around the room and see who could get back to the couch first. Kortland won every time, and Moses started to get discouraged. So as they began the next race, Kortland started cheering "Come on, Mo, you can beat me!" Right before Kort got to the couch he started moving in slow motion and said "I think you're going to beat me!" He let Moses win and then said "Wow, you won!" I love that little boy! He may have some "Blackwell Crazy" in him, but he's also got his Mom's heart.

Love ya!

Amie said...

It was a nice try. It really was. I applaud your efforts. Unfortunately, admitting your weaknesses only made you look better and better. I guess you'll have to post some pics of that van or your messy house. ;) No, don't do it because I'm all good with happy, positive blogs too. In fact, I completely agree with everything you said, including the little things like not getting pedicures and do I EVER love ROSS!

Mandy said...

You are a positive person, and I applaud you for that. I love positive people. They help others to be / feel positive. :) So keep it up. :)

Your pictures are wonderful. :) TO ME - There isn't anything better in this whole world than pregnancy pictures. :)

I think you are fabulous - and your 'flaws' only make me think it even more. :)

Natasha Ireland said...

Love Love Love U....and ps your such a hot mama, these pics are P.r.i.c.e.l.e.s.s.

Heather said...

I love your new pics! Yay for Baby Bob! Kortland looks soooo happy!

Stacey 18 said...

Your blog always makes me laugh. I think you might be the only person in the world who loves your family as much as I love mine. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful sons - Jacob and Lucas. I think the shouting at your son thing is just that... shouting at boys. My sons don't hear "darling, please don't do that", they only hear me when I yell at them. You make me feel normal. Keep up the good work.

Harrison's said...

Loved this post, and these pictures are AMAZING! I'm really bad at comparing myself to others (I definitely don't look that good pregnant) so I loved this subject matter. I also love that you're real and choose to be happy. Thank you! said...

So well written and insightful!! Love it!!