It's practically March and I forgot to post my Valentine's pictures.
I had them sitting in a draft folder on Blogger and just never added words.
And now I'm on my computer, pulling up the photos and... they looked much better on my phone.
I rarely use a real camera anymore because a) the only camera in this house is Mackenzie's and I have to go up to her apartment to borrow it, as well as text her for permission to use it because b) it's expensive and the last time I used it someone that rhymes with Shmayden knocked it off the desk and broke the $400 lens, and also c) I'm lazy.
So unless Sammy wants to surprise me with an iPhone7 plus - or whatever it is that my son Jason has that has an EXTREMELY nice camera - I am just going to have to post grainy, sometimes out of focus photos here. Sigh. #firstworldproblems
In spite of these phone photos, our Valentine's celebration was delightful. We had pink heart pancakes and our traditional table of treats, and this year Sammy surprised me with chocolate dipped strawberries as well as chocolate dipped heart shaped shortbread cookies ....sooooo yummy.
Madison wore Hayden's first Valentine's outfit (minus the beanie, she wore a bow instead) and was the cutest cupid I've ever seen.
The day before Valentine's Day I asked Hayden if he remembered how we celebrate the holiday. He said yes - everyone gets a new toothbrush and their own tiny toothpaste !
I have never, to my knowledge, given our kids new toothbrushes or tiny toothpastes for Valentine's Day. Heart shaped pancakes, a table decorated with doilies and candy, sticky notes with promises for dates with Mommy - these are all things our children typically look forward to on February 14th every year.
But I did not want Hayden to be disappointed (he was SO excited when he told me what he was expecting)... and also The Dollar Tree had spiderman toothbrushes when I went to pick up balloons and streamers. So it wasn't too hard to make his wildest dreams come true.
Lily got into the chocolate chips that were waiting in little red and white dishes on the dining room table before everyone else came down for breakfast.
side note: I started sprinkling chocolate chips on our kids' pancakes mannnnny years ago and now they actually believe pancakes are naked without them. I'm not even kidding, we were out of them one morning when I made pancakes and nobody would eat them. #pancakesnobs
Anyhoot, I have a really cute video of Lily with chocolate chips on her face just before everyone came down for pancakes, but I didn't have enough video footage to fill the whole song up. I'll post it later if I can find it, but like my blurry photos, it's ... less than perfect.
But it is real life. Which is pretty much how we roll here on A Perfect Lily.
And that reminds me of something I was pondering the other day.
I was looking at some photo galleries on Instagram- lovely, color coordinating photos that were never out of focus, all forming a coherent display of that user's "brand" - and then I looked at mine. And the contrast was... stark.
And then I peeked in on some well-polished, well-read blogs I visit occasionally, and I noticed the same obvious difference.
And then I read an article on Pinterest about "how to increase traffic to your social media sites" (gain followers on Instagram, boost readership on your blog, get more retweets on Twitter, etc.) and I was like... who has time for this ???
I do understand that some people actually make money off these things, so I'm not saying there's something inherently evil about sprucing things up if you need to ... but sometimes - because I can tend to be a perfectionist - I need to remind myself that comparisons are odious.
Or the thief of life.
Or something .... that I really need to avoid.
In both real life and "online life", I don't really have time for the comparison game, you know?
It's like when my neighbor, many years ago, made a comment about the state of my rosebushes outside. (I should note that his yard looked like something out of Better Homes & Gardens, whereas mine ... was lucky to have the grass mowed each week.) I just smiled, blinked back a few embarrassing tears, and told him, "I'm just trying to keep people alive over here. Some day I hope my yard will look as lovely as yours."
So as I looked at those other impressive blogs and beautiful IG galleries the other day, I (again) smiled and blinked back a few embarrassing tears and gave myself that same little speech. "I'm just trying to keep people alive over here. Some day maybe my (photos, blog, house, wardrobe,whatever) will look like theirs."
Or maybe not.
Because when you are doing important things .... like growing children, and not a readership ... those other things really do need to take a backseat to what's important, yes ?
I also reminded myself that the reason the comparison game fails so miserably for the most part, is that the dynamics of my life are far different than the ones I might view through the (very tiny) lens of social media.
This same principle applies to other areas of life as well - gazing across the lawn at my neighbor's yard, flipping through a magazine and coveting the wardrobe I wish I had, perusing Pinterest and realizing there are a thousand places I've never been, or even just hanging up the phone with a friend and yearning for a simpler life.
I can't keep holding up someone else's apples to my oranges and expecting them to be the same.
And neither can you.
I say this, because lately I have been on the receiving end of a number of emails or texts or direct messages asking me the age old question : how do you do it all?
And I'm absolutely not opposed to offering a little insight into how things operate at The Rice Ranch. If I can help other moms to learn from my mistakes, or share some of the things God has helped me with over the years, I am more than happy to do so. I still reach out to women older and more experienced than I am for wisdom on a host of issues - parenting, cooking, cleaning, you name it - and I'm honored that others would do the same to me.
But I never want to give the impression that we've got this whole thing figured out around here. I don't post pictures of rotting vegetables in my refrigerator drawer, spilled milk/dog pee on my dining room carpet, dirty laundry, bickering children, or overgrown weeds in my backyard. What you see here and on Instagram are just tiny snippets of our lives, and not the whole picture of who we are. And they are the snippets I allow you to see... because honestly, who wants to show the world their dirty laundry?
My family is so different than yours, and even if we shared a few similarities, on any given day we are each going to be functioning under a completely unique set of circumstances ... just as no two snowflakes are the same, so are no two families, in my humble opinion.
I can share some things that have worked for us, but I also hope that when people ask me - how do you do it all ? - they realize that "this" isn't the whole picture.
We have good days and bad days here, days when I managed to keep everyone alive and got the laundry (somewhat) caught up, and I put dinner on the table.... and days when it feels like it's all falling apart.
I'm posting pictures of our Valentine's Day morning because it was fun and sweet, and my children and Sam and I love any excuse to put everything else on hold and celebrate. We are really into holidays here at The Rice Ranch - but if that's not your "thing" there's no rule that says it has to be.
What I'm really trying to say is: I'm just running in my own lane here.
I take average blurry photos on my cell phone, my blog looks homemade because it is, my wardrobe consists of whatever-was-on-sale that random afternoon I had time to run to the mall, my home decorating style could be described as "practical" and "well loved", my Instagram "gallery" is really just a hodgepodge of happy moments in my life....
... and all of that holds true for pretty much everything else going on around here.
To quote a tagline from a show I've heard before : it might not be a perfect life... but it's our life.
So here's to keeping it real, ditching the comparison game, embracing the life that is ours, and realizing that sometimes The Dollar Tree sells the greatest gifts of all.
|took this with my little ole cell phone, no filter. take THAT, Canon 70d !!|