Friday, December 2, 2011

Mr. Bath Salts

The Mr. loves to work. I’m not talking he enjoys what he does, which is true. He MUST work.  Like his father, Jared was born with this innate sense of busyness. They’re hands have to stay moving. A project must be on the go at all times. Their mind must be contemplating a solution of how to accomplish the task at hand. It permeates their thoughts to the point where they even dream about it! Then, when one thing is completed there is no lapse onto the next project. Actually, there are always half a dozen projects on the go at any given time.
One could see how this could be a challenge in trying to establish a pattern of routine marital bonding.
Early in our marriage Jared and I began a regular bedtime routine.  With our equally busy schedules, the children and his education and now employment, we take the time at the end of the day to prepare for bed together. It’s OUR time. We go over our day, voice concerns, touch base on calendar events, current projects, and individual children’s needs. You name it, it is discussed. This is all done while we brush our teeth, groom, but most importantly bathe together.
When we purchased our first home four years ago I knew we needed a decent tub, of course money and existing space was a factor but the splurge was made to accommodate such an important aspect of our marriage routine.
Jared laying the tile with Mila looking on.

Most every night we enjoy soaking and bonding, touching and talking. I have found this routine most prioritizing important the longer we have been married. The stresses and responsibilities of life only increase as time does. There are many heavy things on our minds. But as we continue with this pattern I feel our tie to one another grows stronger, our respect and understanding increases. Its not to say everything is smoothed over and resolved in those moments, wouldn’t that be nice? But our ability to cope and our love for one another firmly remains intact.

The Mr. loves to prepare the bath; run the water and most importantly add the bath salts!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pictures Lie

Jared took an undergraduate art history course in photography. The basis of the class focused on the illusions photographs create especially in the area of family portraiture.  That idea left an impression and every time I see a seemingly beautiful happy family portrait I can’t help but think what lies and problems are hidden behind those smiles. What heartache and trails they have gone through or are yet to go through.
So it is with our family picture. No doubt we clean up well and give good face and if you’re a returning reader you’ll know I’m not about to give you the run around. We have issues. I mean how could we not? Jared and I have been married for 15 years. Trust me we have our problems. I’m not talking, he-won’t-take-out-the-trash-the-first-time-I-ask scenarios.  It’s deep-rooted; time hardened, skewed views, recurring arguments, one’s unwillingness to change, and easily offended stuff. It’s not as pretty as the freshly pressed dress on a child, carefully crafted props or the picturesque landscape in the background.  
But with that said, there has to be some safety in the family unit. Some escape from the bombardment of worldly pressures. Comfort in one another's companionship.  Surety in the time invested.  One must hold some hope to the idea or one would become as 2-dimensional as the image, finding no depth in what we have.
I know I shouldn’t have, but I’ve ruined your pleasure in cuteness. Its overrated!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mr. Soulmate

Lets discuss this idea, shall we? Cause sometimes one needs perspective to work things through. The idea of this blog started when a friend recently remarked that in the department of love things really have worked out well for me. Actually the term used was “best.” In which I replied that I don't really believe things always workout for the "best". We do the best we can at any given moment. That means making decisions, following through, taking the consequences (good &bad) and perfecting ourselves as we go along in life. We can make any choice the right one by how we deal with it.
Goodness that sounds like some ideology sermon that most definitely would not come out of my cynical mouth! BUT the idea of my union to Jared being the best choice for me . . . I’d say it worked out well for him. Alright! Eyes rolling, twist my arm, no doubt we’re better TOGETHER. We’re clear on our expectations and while our responsibilities are distinct (Victorianishly so!) we’ve managed to navigate life well and accomplish huge things. Which brings me to the subject heading. Were we meant for one another? I’m talking pre-destined? Not an original idea, but I’m surprised at the amount of people who truly believe in fate or “the one.” Lets examine the evidence:
  • My father gained and lost employment in just the perfect location and time frame in which I would meet Jared. No earlier and no later.
  • I was not fully committed to the whole church life in early youth. This move gave me new church leaders and a best friend that made me want to be think ahead spiritually, make some changes, and set goals. I was already preparing and thinking about marriage at that young age. (Thinking about it, mind you, with someone else in mind. That’s what girls do best; plan ahead every possible scenario and wardrobe change!)
  • Jared then received and went on his mission at a coinciding time and place to associate with me. (Independent of his own personal timing and journey.)
  • My instant recognition of my place as his wife was up to then the most spiritual confirmation I had received.
Was this weave of lives orchestrated by chance?
Why would I wrestle with this? I had the most amazing Sunday school teacher who said, God takes advantage of what we give him to work with. True dat! We still make choices deliberately of our own accord. My choices up to then, as Jared’s were to his, were independent of destiny. Did God then arrange us? Hmmm, I believe He saw an opportunity for two people who needed each other to make something infinitely more beautiful than they could on their own-a push.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mr. Ellis you’ve done good.

Well someone’s lovin’ herself this morning!  Yeah, and I’m bout to get into those deets. But first, these past two weeks have been a whirlwind and I’d like to give a shout out to Colin Tuis Nesbit, fabulous artist and dear friend.
 A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of hosting Colin while he installed a work at BYU. I was lamenting about the grief Chase was giving me and he suggested perhaps he has AD/HD, as Colin suffers from it.
The very next day I made an appointment with our physician and wiped out the local library’s shelf on the subject. While I’m on the self-praise theme-I know how to git r done!
I anticipated that having a Jr. Higher would be quite the adjustment for our family. It was the worst years of my life so I knew it wouldn’t be without some bumps. It’s been worse than bumps, we’re talking mountains! Not just increased school work load but missing assignments, failing grades, constant notes from teachers about behavior, administrator/parent conferences, even suspension. I was at a loss and the “How to raise a boy” and “teen parenting” books were not helping!
So as I’m pouring over these AD/HD books, things instantly started to make sense. I’m feeling empowered and hopefully, finally tools and explanations to help me!  I had to share these things with Jared! And as I’m listing the common signs and symptoms he’s like, oh yeah, I can relate.
No s***! I knew that! (I really should control those swearing outbursts in my head!) It was an ah-ha, even confirming, moment. And this flood of understanding comes to me. Here I was simply wanting Jared to never utter to me again (as I repeatedly dump my frustrations on him), “The reason Chase doesn’t take responsibility is because you do EVERYTHING for him” or “Why do you constantly repeat yourself to him” and “Make him work harder” blah-blah-blah. All the information I was reading was making me feel darn good because I was already instinctively doing things right. I just needed Jared’s empathy and to be on board too. Every accommodation Chase needed and I was providing were exact ones I provided for Jared x’s 10! Through Jared’s education and beyond! They came so naturally to me because Chase is his father’s son. I’ve always worked so hard with Chase so that he won’t be as dependent on me as Jared is!
We already went over the nugget of “Jared didn’t graduate high school” in an early blog and the hair ripping experience of getting him through that AND two higher degrees. The reality is even borderline ADD, AD/HD causes academic agony. It’s frustrating because you have a beautiful healthy person who is amazingly bright and capable but they’re underachieving in school. My Mr. was repeatedly tested in elementary school with no developmental or leaning problem diagnosis yet he repeated the 3rd grade and always did miserably academically! I’m studying that like Chase, Jared lacked a group of key cognitive skills known as the executive function, mainly: working memory and recall and activation.  These deficits make one avoid mentally exhausting tasks and contribute to disorganization, difficulty getting started and finishing work, forgetting assignments, procrastination on long-term projects, forgetting to turn in work, difficulty memorizing and recalling facts, trouble writing essays or reports, etc. Basically everything needed to do well in school short of attending.
The key to success: parent involvement, a partnership with your child throughout their educational years. Exhausting stuff, especially if there seems to be nothing wrong with the person and its chalked up to, “school is just not their thing”, or “they’re choosing to be lazy.” Here is where “developmental appropriate supervision” comes into play, i.e. Mrs. Jared Ellis.
From day 1 of my Mr.’s educational adventure I went over EVERYTHING he brought home, syllabuses, assignments, sloppy notes (did you know messy handwriting is a sign of AD/HD since they never had the attention span to take the time developing that skill?) you name it, if it was on paper I read it and followed through. Library research and papers were the things I focused on. Jared worked on in-class work and if he brought home a syllabus that had a heavy load of that, the class was dropped, especially ones that the grade relied on test scores. We favored courses with minimal in-class responsibility. It was very frustrating on my end when I tried to organize homework because if I had a question often times he couldn’t remember what was lectured.  Naturally he thrived in the studio art setting, he never had to sit down or memorize facts! He just had to create and that has always been his God given gift. His educational success was truly a product of our partnership effort. And of course it behooved me to do so because its scary being dependant on someone else for your social-economic status. I’m a homemaker! Wouldn’t it be in my best interest to get my husband as far ahead as I possibly could?!
I’ve told the man, there is no way under the blazing sun we are EVER getting a divorce, no other woman is going to benefit from my hard work! Honestly you see it all the time, creative artistic individuals who don’t get their dues until later in life and then some young thing sweeps in and reaps the reward. Because more often then not, creative people are sufferers from AD/HD, they don’t fit the academic mold and they’re seemingly stuck in their head all the time. They take work and a conscience effort not to harbor resentment for their weaknesses!
Obviously I’m committed to the man and I recently read its also recommended one stays curious about their partner for a successful marriage.  Is there no end to my man’s mysteries? He is defiantly going to continue to get lucky!

Monday, October 17, 2011

13 is probably too old to consider putting him up for adoption:

I’m not going to make the habit of blogging about my children. Mainly because most people could care less about other’s spawn. The only exception is grandparents, because said children are spawn of their spawn. But my oldest child, Chase, has been the cause of much lost sleep lately, and I’m expecting gray hairs to appear at any moment.
This school year has been rough, and we’re actually in the process of getting him evaluated for ADD, we could use the accommodations.  His story is this:
I’m finding out people with ADD are hypersensitive, to everything!  I’ve always said Chase has been gifted with the spirit of discernment. Because Chase, at an earlier age than most kids, has known the majority of adults are a-holes, teachers and family included. And he has been unable to accept the social norm of showing respect to those people regardless. He’s grand with old men, gives them his undivided attention and upon coercion will even use phases like, “Yes, sir.”  But unless you have one toe left on this side of this veil you’re not gonna get that behavior.
So we talk about appropriate social etiquette all the time.  The conversations go like this: “Chase, just because so & so is an idiot doesn’t mean you call them on it. Keep those thoughts in your head!” 
In which he shoots back, “But you say stuff about people all the time!”
Did I mention he is uber aware of hypocrisy, which is why he has issues with most everyone?
I'm then forced to admit, “Yeah! But we talk about them amongst ourselves, not to their face!”
Obviously I'm a failure at parenting by example.

At times he looks so much like his father, and like the Mr., requires a disproportionate amount of my time! But its impossible not to love them they way they need. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mr. Hot Mess Ellis

“Really?” You’ll say. “You’re blogging about you’re husbands body?”
In which I’ll reply, “Yeah! And why wasn’t this my first post?!”
I never understand people who say, looks aren’t EVERYTHING. You’re right, but they sure do help. And sometimes it helps BIG time! I mean there are the non-negotiables, for me it was faith. Obviously it wasn’t education or secure employment, Jared had neither of those at the beginning. It was simply, body & spirit. Those two things looked darn fine (fine in the 90’s connotation for all you people over 30).  I could work with everything else besides we were young and the potential was there.  
Fast forward 15 years and one thing I get told all the time is:
“You have 5 kids?!”
In my head I’m thinking, first; I don’t look THAT young and second; if you saw my husband you’d want nearly ½ a dozen of his babies too.
That said, I have this nasty habit of only journaling when I’m absolutely livid at the man. So much so, that I’m sure our posterity will think their grandfather is a complete tool. It’s at those moments I come to the conclusion that I really just need to get over whatever it is that’s pissing me off because a) he’s stubborn as hell and I can scream till I’m blue in the face and it won’t change a thing and b)  it would be awfully hard to find a muscularly equivalent replacement.
Nothing is hotter than seeing Jared with the kids!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My obsession with art:

I want to backhand all these young new brides, whose husbands are on the cusp on getting their bachelors. They lament at the thought of having to go through graduate school because they just can’t stand being poor students a moment longer. Wah wah wah!  Save those tears for when you’re still poor years after university life!
Well, now that I vomited that bitter pill, lets get to the subject at hand.
My Mister’s an artist.
I’ve only had one person, upon telling them that little fact, have their eyes glaze over at the romantic notion of being married to one of that profession.  I get it, the concept of passion and creativity in such a being. But most people say, “Really?!  Hmm . . .” and I’m sure they’re contemplating the term, “starving artist” and feeling sorry for me!
It’s true, artists are a curios bunch. It takes a certain type of individual to be in such a self-absorbing pursuit. (More on that subject in a future blog)
But Jared’s road to artist status wasn’t clearly paved. You think it would be since being an artist isn’t really a choice, you’re either born with that inkling or you’re not. Most people just forget, let others convince them otherwise, talk themselves out of it or just pursue a more practical path. When Jared remembered his calling it was like doors just opened and his happiness became full. How could I not stand behind him?
Here is a glimpse into that journey:
Ok, so you’ll see from the last post, Jared had me at return address unknown. He could have aspired to be anything and it wouldn’t have mattered.  But I recall in our courtship correspondence, he might have thrown around the title, Dr. Ellis. Unbeknownst to me, Jared hadn’t even graduated high school. He was 1 class short of his diploma. Yes, overachieving me was more than horrified. During our engagement he enrolled in his town’s local adult learning center to finish high school.  I’ve attended all 3 of his graduations as his proud Mrs.
I was pro-active about his education.  What needed to be done? Apply to school? Schedule his classes?  Secure financial aid? Find housing? Done, done and done!  Doctor fast track it is! It turned out to be anything but.
Not once did Jared mention as a child he aspired to be an artist.  No!  We go on this Chiropractic track for 3 years, trying to burn through generals while he struggled to wrap his brain around high school level math- which if he failed to pass prevented him from enrolling in college math and apply to his program. I had already started our family.  I too applied to the local college and decided it wasn't my time. Financing both of us wasn’t the best option then. Jared was starting to enjoying college life a little too much, taking his sweet time, making friends, working out.  I was quickly becoming a resentful mess.
I scheduled Jared to take an art class as an elective since he exhausted the physically fitness ones. No one in the art department could understand why that wasn’t his major. After that semester he switched to studio art. I couldn’t have been more relieved.  It was an answer to my prayers. Finally I didn’t have to tutor him in math anymore!  Then the art degree-fast-track kicked in and the man who struggled with school his whole life found his place.
I can’t separate him from his art, and since I’m yoked to him, it has become who we are.
I can, at times, be even more outwardly passionate about it than him, and when it comes to collecting, lets just say I can become a bit aggressive. Many of our artist friends can attest, art-trade anyone?
Jared receiving his Masters of Fine Art from Brigham Young University May 2007.