Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Ramblings.....

Photo credit:

Well, today began quite interestingly.  For starters, our little baby was up for 2 1/2 hours last night, in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason.  After half an hour, I thought maybe his teeth were hurting, so I gave him some ibuprofen.  An hour later, I thought maybe he had eaten something he was allergic to, so I gave him some benadryl.  Finally about 40 minutes later he passed out only after I decided to sing him to sleep.  I turned the alarm off, hoping to sleep in.  That didn't work either.  The cat meowed at the bottom of the stairs demanding his breakfast.  From past experience, I know he will wake the baby up, so I jumped out of bed and flew down the stairs to instruct the little ones to feed the cat.  Well, they couldn't get the can opened, so he was still making a lot of noise.  We finally got that out of the way and began our day.

Extras for the day included climbing into the attic, without waking the baby, because my sweet husband instructed the children to put away the costume box.  It was in the way.  What was he thinking?!  Oh ya....order!  Also, providing fairy make-up and hair for Sun's costume was on the agenda.  Yesterday, I received a frantic phone call from a room-parent asking for any assistance for a classroom party.  Well, sure I can drop something off.  So today I am a treat-deliverer. 

Today, I am also an English tutor.  One of my children is struggling with a paper.  He received a C and asked me to read it to help him with the rewrite.  I read it.  The criticisms are valid.  I told him so.  Then I became aware that he has another paper due tomorrow in the same class.  I asked him to let me read that essay.  After reading it, I said, "Son, we have to rewrite this."  He, of course, was totally overwhelmed because it is due tomorrow and it has to be completely revamped.  I told him the options were to turn it in the way it is and have to rewrite it later, or to overwork it now and hopefully not need to rewrite.  So today we are writing a research paper and paying close attention to organization and style.  Citations, punctuation, spelling, mechanics....those are just going to have to wait.  He has a pretty decent grasp of those things so it should be fine.  The other issue is just writing to the particular style required by the class.  I am not too familiar with that style (MLA) so he is just going to have to do what he knows and work within the formatting.

Today, I am a math tutor.  Another child is struggling with Algebra.  He has been focusing on a social studies research paper and although it is not a long paper, he is a creative writer and not too keen on academic details.  In the process (days of writing), we have neglected his math.  Today we are trying to get caught up in that subject.  It is coming, but the least common multiples of fractions are killing him.  So we have to focus in there a little more.

For Halloween, I am supposed to be a pirate but have not yet had time to put on my attire.  And with the way the baby is behaving, I may not have time the entire day.  I think he is sick.  Poor little thing. 

We may just have left-overs for dinner.  But at least tonight, I know we will have fun.  We will sit around and watch our favorite Halloween movie..........The Legend of Sleepy Hollow followed by The Ghost and Mr. Chicken for the older ones.  OK....and you have to read this book:
We LOVE Dav Pilkey at our house!!  It was a great book.

Happy Haunting!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's Fantastic Five

Couples Conference
Last Saturday, we held our couples conference.  We had three classes:  finances, communications, and intimacy.  I got to teach the communications class.  I LOVE teaching about marriage and family!  I LOVE the fact that our church focuses on how to have a happy family and if we will follow their teachings our families can be a place of love, safety, and security for all of us.  This particular conference focused on Marriage.

I began with an important premise............we choose our feelings.  You heard me right.  Feelings are a choice.  I told my class ahead of time that they may have difficulty with this truth, but  HERE are the words of a prophet to back  me up.  I included a copy of his talk in all the folders we handed out to our participants.  We are agents.  Others cannot make us feel a certain way.  Then I used this example:

If you overheard someone you really didn't know saying something unkind about you.........most of us would probably blow it off.  If however, we overheard someone close to us, a best friend, or spouse, or family member, say the same thing, it would be devastating.   Why?  Why the difference in reaction?  The information is the same.  It is because of the meaning we have attached to the relationship.  When someone close to us says something unkind, true or not, it is a revelation to us that the relationship does not have the same meaning that we had attached to it.  Our feelings are hurt because it isn't what we expected or believed it to be.  (Even if our perception is wrong......which is why communication is so significant..........we are often wrong even though we will usually think we are right.  So we have to communicate to see if what we think is happening, really is, or if it is different.........even more important in significant relationships, like marriage.)  

Then I gave them all a copy of The Family: A Proclamation To The World.  This is your primary guiding document on how to have a happy family.  Follow these principles and be blessed.  We focused in on this line from the proclamation:

Happiness in family life is most likely to be
achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established
and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance,
forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and
wholesome recreational activities.

And gave them this recipe:
This idea came from Stephanie @ Diapers and Divinity.  Thanks, Stephanie!


And this one:
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love
and care for each other and for their children. “Children
are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). 

Then we spoke about how to show our love to our spouses by learning their Primary Love Language.  (Find yours by clicking the link above. Then take the quiz for men or women respectively.)  We can be telling our spouse we love them all the time, but if we are not speaking THEIR love language, they may be completely missing our efforts to communicate that to them.  So it is important that we learn to speak the other person's language in matters of the heart.

We discussed the idea that we are our spouse's primary nurturer.  It is our responsibility, our solemn responsibility the prophets say, to love and care for each other and our children.  It is not something we can choose to ignore, or just live with.  We have an obligation to help and lift each other.  And because we are endowed with agency, we can choose to love our spouse, even if we do not feel that way today.  We can repent and change and rekindle the fire we once had through service and following the principles laid out in the Family Proclamation.

That was basically the class, with a lot of discussion and interaction.  We had a good time, with dinner afterward.   Most families were home just after 7, even those of us who cleaned up were home by 8.  I am so very grateful for the wonderful help we received!

SUN'S First Public Solo  
My sweet daughter preformed her first solo this week!  She did an amazing job at her school's talent show in front of all of her peers!  Tonight is the performance for the parents.  Hopefully the video will upload.  Here she is: 
  She missed a note and started to forget a few words.....but every time I watch her, I start to cry.  I think it is because I think singing a solo is such a brave thing to do and I think her voice is beautiful!!  I am so very proud of her!  I cannot wait to see what she will be able to do with just a little training!!  Wooohooo!!

Check out my Tree:
Sport, the artist, said, "Mom, that's not realistic....."  Then we both laughed.  It is for Primary (children ages 3-11).  It doesn't need to be 'realistic'!

I am the Primary chorister.  We will pick leaves off of the tree for choosing songs, or different ways to sing a song, whatever.

Last week, I made this poster:

Do you know what song it is for???  Maybe the visual aids will give you a clue:
Sorry about the camera flash glare!
I opened up Heather's blog today to THIS POST. I have to say, that I LOVED most of the photos too.  It is a photo book about women in the very beautiful!

You have to go and see the photos!!!  The photographer is April Craig.  I wish I could post my favorite photo.....I loved the one of Rachael, wife of Jacob, and I really like the ones Heather chose.  So go and check them out!

My little man is cutting his molars.  He has not been very fun, especially in the middle of the night when I cannot figure out what it is he wants!  Ugh!  And he is the SLOWEST teeth cutter I have ever had.  I am not quite sure why it takes him so long, but it seems like they are taking about a month from the time I notice they are coming and beginning to bother him until they finally erupt through the gums.  Maybe he is just a horrible teether and especially sensitive to pain.  Maybe I am just astutely aware of them because he is the ninth baby.  Whatever!  We are both struggling with the process.  Hang in there little angel.  Not too many more to go for now!
photos courtesy of Speedy

Have a GREAT and SPOOKY week!! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

A typical day for Heather's Friday Five Link-up

6:00 a.m. Hopefully get out of bed without waking up the baby or hubby.  Say prayers and read scriptures (though the more regularly the baby is getting up at night, I sleep in until 6:30.........this weekend it wasn't teething, it was the flu.......lovely!)  Say good morning to Sport as he heads off to Seminary (early morning scripture study class).  Oh ya'---feed the cat.

6:30 a.m.  Wake up the rest of the crew and begin breakfast.  Give baby a glass of milk (coconut or almond) and change his diaper.

7:00 a.m. Wake them all up again and tell them breakfast is ready.  Make hubby's lunch and answer all the questions about what we are eating for breakfast and what is available for lunch packing and if some boys have clean socks :-)

7:30 a.m. Say family prayers

7:40 a.m. Take hubby and Sport to catch the bus to head to work and school.

7:50 a.m. Take Sun, Shorty, and Smiley to school.

8:15 a.m. Arrive home.  Eat breakfast. Read email and blogs, begin housework and homeschooling for Speedy.  All the while trying to entertain Spike.

11:00 a.m. Fix lunch for Spike, Speedy and myself.

11:30 a.m. Spike lays down for a nap.  (Sometime before now, hope I have taken a shower.....)

12:00 Go over math, English, Social Studies, and/or Science with Speedy and help out where needed.  Also, work on any extra things I am responsible for.....planning singing time music or props, organizing Relief Society activities, agendas, or just talking to people who need help from my ward or family or friends.  (I usually make all of those pesky business phone calls about this time too......)

Usually between 12 and 2 I try to squeeze in housework and laundry but if I've had appointments or other interruptions to my day I am making up the work here.

2:30 begins the pick-ups from school.

3:00 We start homework and do a little house cleaning after snacks.

Using potholders to unload the dishwasher

4:00 Begins dinner prep

5:00  We start dinner (maybe) and try to organize ourselves for the evenings' activities which with so many people going so many different directions is always eventful......except of the blessed Monday evening when we have FAMILY HOME EVENING!!!  (Which deserves a post unto itself!)

8:00 p.m. We read scriptures as a family with whoever is home and say family prayers.  Then it is off to brush teeth, say personal prayers, put on pajamas, personal scripture study and fun reading until they fall asleep.

8:30 - 10:00 ish is older kid TV time where they can watch something with us that wouldn't be appropriate for the younger kids before they head to bed.

That is a typical day at our house.  Link up to Heather's Post to see what her family's typical day looks like.  Some day I would really like to be organized enough that I actually do all the housework I have planned.  But the truth is, with the number of people who live here and the number of emotions and relationships that need managing, I spend most of time in people management and not enough time in stuff management.  I guess the stuff will still be here when the people are gone, right?  And if I take care of the people, so they are educated, well-rounded, happy, stable people, I have done a much greater service than making sure the dust bunnies are all rounded up.  But occasionally, focus has to be given to the house and order.  It is all in the balance......I just wish I was enough woman to manage the stuff and the people.  I think that is what the Lord is trying to teach me.  Each year I get a little more organize and each baby I think I function better than I did after the last one......but geesh!  One woman can only manage so much!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I am a Mormon Woman!

I saw this video today, and knew it had to go on my blog!!! 
Yea for WOMEN!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Girls' Day!!

So every once in a while, my friends and I get together and just kind of play hooky the entire day (as much as a mother can really play hooky, which is never the entire day.....).  Yesterday was that day for us.  We met at my house around 10, realized that one of us didn't get the information that we were meeting, tried to make contact via cell luck.  So we decided to drive over to her house and kidnap her, which we did.  Luckily it was late enough in the day that she was ready without any advanced notice!

Then we ran up to another little town, had AMAZING crepes in a very cute little restaurant with tons of atmosphere, all the while visiting and enjoying each others' company.

Then we decided we weren't done yet and we ran off to the beach, had quite a little hike to a secluded cove (I am told it is the only approved place for nude sunbathing...luckily it was too foggy and cloudy and no one else was there :-), and just took in the ocean air, smells, sounds, mist and all!  And we only arrived home in time to pick up the children from school.  It was a glorious day!

Here are some photos:
Us resting in the middle of the uphill hike home
Not part of the day, but too beautiful not to post.  Sunset
 I couldn't help but feel such profound gratitude for my beautiful children and sweet spouse after such a refreshing morning.  "Sometimes you just have to get out of the hamster wheel" one of my hiking friends is apt to say!  Thanks for the break ladies!!  So needed at my house.  I love you my dear friends :-)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Point of Impact

Photo credit:

My girlfriend and I were talking the other day and she mentioned how in our time together I had taught her many things that are eternally significant to her life.  She went on to say that I have no idea how the things I taught her have affected the people that she interacts my influence lives on in her relationships with others and the knowledge she shares with them which originally came to her through me.  I was awe struck.  I have been pondering her comments for days.

I began to think about some of the people who have made that kind of an impression for me and how many people have benefited from the influence others have had on me.

In contrast to that situation, I had another experience today where there was a huge opportunity for impact, spiritual and eternal impact, but the participants did not view the circumstances as significant and thus the entire interaction kind of flopped.  It didn't end bad, but an important, eternal piece was missing, and that particular opportunity for impact was lost.

I have been pondering about that situation too. 

We do not always know when what we say or do in a particular circumstance or situation will have an eternal influence in someone's life.  So how do we go about our every day interactions with an emphasis on bringing people to Christ?  This does not mean that we have to be religious or stiff in our interactions with others.  But in our common, every day lives, do we bring light to others who may be traveling in a darker world?

I will give you a 'for instance'.....

Several years ago I was watching one of our children play t-ball.  I had an infant with me and was sitting in a double, lawn chair by myself.  Another mother was close by and also had an infant.  I asked if she would like to share my chair.  She gratefully accepted.  We began talking about normal stuff.  How old is your baby?  How are things going?  Does she sleep through the night?  And big here in California, When are you going back to work?  Well, I didn't work at a job.  I stayed at home.  I said so.  She then asked me if I didn't feel less valued because I wasn't working.  Didn't I feel pressure to enter the work force?

I told her that plenty of people asked me about working, but that I found my greatest joy and fulfillment in being a mother to my children.  I didn't want someone else (like the day-care lady) to have a significant influence on my child's development.  If anyone was going to make an impact, I wanted it to be me.  I told her that the pressure she felt by others to be a full-time employee in order to have fulfillment and self-esteem was a lie, and not valid.  She began to cry.  She expressed that the desire of her heart was to stay home with her newborn and be her mother but she felt so much pressure that she wasn't sure it was a valid desire.  I encouraged her feelings and told her that her desires were given to her by God.  It was natural for a mother to want to be primary care-taker for her newborn and her feelings were right and that she should listen to her heart.  This information was new to her.

Needless to say, this one conversation cemented our friendship for life.  We do not always have time to talk and visit, but our hearts recognize the pure and righteous intents of the other.  She is a dear friend whom I love.

But I guess my point is this:  we really do not know when our conversations, behaviors, or choices will bless the lives of another.  My friend did not join the church because of our interactions.  She has not had the missionaries over.  She ( I don't think) hasn't even read the Book of Mormon (though I did give her one).  But she has made other changes.  She quit drinking coffee.  She stayed home with her little one until she was in the 2nd grade.  She decided to go to college and she graduated!  Our simple conversation began a deep friendship and that influence has helped her to put in place choices that have blessed her life and the life of her family.

So here is my question:  Are you living your life in such a way that others can see and feel a difference in you compared to the majority of people they interact with?  Are you different, in good ways, ways that lead people to Christ?  Are you happy?  Would people recognize that you are unique or peculiar and still see that you are happy in the course you are pursuing?  Do you answer their questions?

 Just some things to think about I guess.......Happy pondering.....or share your thoughts in the comments section!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are your questions ready??!!

I cannot wait!  It is here!!  It is here!!  Every six months our prophets speak and share the words of the Lord with us.

Many years ago, I was told that if I would think of questions I had (any....doctrinal, temporal, spiritual) and pray about them, I would receive answers to my questions.  One year I decided to take the challenge.  It worked!!  I have always received answers as I listen to all the sessions of General Conference: Saturday & Sunday, October 6 & 7,  9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Pacific Time.  Check your local stations or watch it on-line RIGHT HERE!!  Current link, until Saturday is for the General Relief Society Meeting.  That was an amazing meeting by itself!!  I LOVED it and received some of my answers there.

Don't bother calling me during those times.  I do not answer the phone.  I am busy listening to the prophets!  Have a great weekend!  I know I will!!