Sunday, December 22, 2013

Warm Fuzzies

Christmas is just a few days away... yippee! This has always been my favorite holiday. Everything about just makes me happy inside.

Unfortunately, it seems like there hasn't been enough "warm fuzzies" going around the interwebz lately. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be thinking about happy, Christmas-y, festive goodness than all the controversial topics that have become the focus the past couple weeks. Thus, here are some of the things that have been giving me the warm fuzzies recently, just in case you need something to get you in the Christmas spirit too. 

1. Dallin sung in our former ward today so I went as well. In that ward, there is a sweet boy who has Down's syndrome that was ordained a deacon not long before we were called to the Spanish branch. One of the duties of being a deacon is passing the sacrament, and it melts my heart to see one of his fellow deacons gently guiding him around the chapel with his arm over his shoulder so he can participate. It always makes me think of Christ and how he helps me handle things that I can't do alone. I love it.

2. This video. If this doesn't make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, you just might be the Grinch himself.

Life is so much better when you are kinder to people around you, whether you think you deserve it or not, and is there any better way to get in the spirit of Christmas than that? 

3. Ingrid Michaelson's version of "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm." It's chock full of happiness. (I'm not sure how legit this website is, but you can listen to it here)

4. Baby boy's wild movements are becoming more recognizable, like maybe there is actually a baby in there instead of an octopus (whew!). It's starting to sink in that he is coming very soon, ready or not. I'm so excited. Whenever I think about this wee babe of mine and how blessed I feel to be pregnant (something I wasn't sure I would get to experience), I get overwhelmed with happiness. Life is so very good. I can't wait for next Christmas, when there will be three of us instead of two.

5. This, which might be my very favorite Christmas song.

I especially love these lines:

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name

I'm so thankful for my Savior. He means everything to me, and I owe all the happiness, hope, and peace in my life to him. Even though I know I could never repay him for what he does for me, I know I can at least try to help those around me and become a better person, and isn't that what this season is all about? (That, and cookies. Always cookies. The end.)

Have a merry little Christmas! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On letting yourself mess up

The past few weeks I've been working hard to learn a new Christmas hymn to play in church this Sunday. I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm not a very good pianist, and I promise I'm not just being modest. I'm mostly self-taught, besides a handful of piano lessons years ago. Somehow I got called to be the pianist in the Spanish-speaking branch of our church that we attend... and it's a struggle. I'm trying hard to learn more songs so we can have a little variety. We pretty much sing the same songs over and over. It's a good thing everyone in the branch is so sweet and patient!

Anyway, while I was practicing said Christmas song a few days ago, I finally got to the point where I was pretty sure I will at least keep the melody going for the whole song when playing in church. I thought to myself, "Hopefully I'll get better, but even if I don't it's okay since it doesn't have to be perfect."

And then I had an epiphany: I think I'm finally learning how to make mistakes. 

I don't think I've ever made it through an entire church service playing every song perfectly. Not once. I make mistakes every week, and that used to bother me so much. I would come home from church feeling like a failure because I couldn't even play familiar hymns perfectly, thanks in part to the anxiety that flares up when I have an audience. 

I've always been a bit of a perfectionist. Now, this is rather problematic. Being a perfectionist means you are just setting yourself up for a lot of frustration since, in reality, life is messy and imperfect. You're never going to have everything go 100% your way. I've beaten myself up too much in the past because of failures, both real and imagined.

Personally, I tend to be at one extreme or another on the perfection spectrum. Either I throw myself into something wholeheartedly (going a little insane in the process) with perfection as my only acceptable result, or I let myself get discouraged and don't even try. I haven't been good at finding a happy medium. At least, not until recently. 

Maybe it's a combination of being pregnant and having a couple of derriere-kicking church callings that have forced me to have more realistic expectations of myself, yet also don't allow me to give up trying. I'm grateful for that.

Moral of the story: Don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself, and be nice to yourself when you mess up.

Be Nice to Yourself Print

Friday, December 20, 2013

I made it!

Today was my last day of seminary. Yippee! As much as I loved (most of the things about) teaching seminary, it is really nice to know that I don't have to wake up early or spend lots of time preparing lessons for the next couple months. I just get to focus on getting ready for this little babe to get here, and that is a big relief. I know I will miss it though.

Still, I sure felt happy sitting next to the fire after I got home, eating homemade bread and jam, sipping hot cocoa, and watching the snow fall. Very happy indeed. 


Here are a few things I learned this semester:

1. Teaching seminary while pregnant, especially when you're in your third trimester, is much more difficult that when you're not pregnant. 

2. It's really hard to tell if/when anyone is getting anything out of your lesson, but often -- even when it doesn't seem like anyone is paying attention -- there is still progress being made. And that is both exasperating and relieving. 

3. Teaching is the best way to learn, by far, and the lessons you learn go way beyond stuff that has to do with the curriculum.

Like I said before, I know I am going to miss seminary, and even though I whined about it quite a bit I'm so thankful to have had the chance to teach. It was really good for me to get out of my comfort zone every day. And even if I often doubted whether my rascally students ever learned much from me, I think they did, and that makes it worth the work.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Two short stories, one wiggly baby

Apparently baby boy isn't a big fan of sharing his mom. Every time Dallin snuggles with me the little goose starts going berserk, almost as if he thinks he can get his daddy to leave if he kicks him hard enough. 

It hasn't worked yet. I just start giggling which wiggles him around and probably gets him even more excited. 

(30 weeks, 4 days)
Silly, silly baby.

In other news, I had a bit of an adventure yesterday. Baby's heart rate was a little high at my doctor's appointment, and since it didn't go down after a couple of minutes my OBGYN sent me to the hospital for a non-stress test. Everything seems to be fine, thankfully. It was probably a combination of my lack of a good breakfast (maybe having appointments so soon after seminary isn't a good idea) and the fact that he was very, very wiggly. His pulse would go down to a good rate, then it would go up when he was kicking at the monitors, and then it would go back down again. I wasn't having any contractions and everything else looked good so they discharged me pretty quickly after giving me something to eat and drink.

Even though everything was fine, being strapped up to a bunch of monitors in a delivery bed wasn't my favorite. My imagination started running wild and when I considered the possibility of delivering my baby so soon (an irrational fear, but a fear nonetheless) I got so anxious. If anything were to happen to this little babe of mine... I don't even want to think about it. I'm so thankful for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby that seems to be a-baking just fine. I hope he keeps on doing just that for a couple more months!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Five quick takes

1. I wore heels to seminary today and nearly fell flat on my face when I tried to bend down to pick up a marker I dropped. Bending over is getting hard enough lately... I should have known that trying to do it when I have an extra 2-3 inches to go and a shifted center of gravity would be a joke! Silly, silly Mikaela.

2. I wish all Christmas songs made me as happy as the Hanukkah Song. Pure gold that never gets old. The end.


3. If you need a laugh, check out the reviews for these gummy bears on Amazon. I've never really liked gummy bears, but I don't think I'll ever be able to eat one again. Ever ever ever. (Oh, and lest you think I was shopping for a 5-lb bag of sugar-free gummy bears, lemme clarify that I found this because someone shared it on Facebook simply for the comedic value of said reviews, just saying. Haha!)

4. Most of the food I consumed today was peanut butter kiss cookies. I feel like I should be ashamed. Unfortunately, I'm ashamed to say that I'm not ashamed. I blame my husband for not coming home for lunch today, thus sending me into pregnant-couch-potato-with-no-motivation-to-make-food mode. ;)

5. While baking said cookies yesterday I managed to burn my wrist on the edge of the cookie sheet. It's shaping up to be a nice scar, so that's great because what better place to have a scar than on your wrist, right? I promise I'm not depressed, just remarkably prone to accidents lately. Promise.