Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Michael has learned the amazing power of combining letters---words!He's been reading everything, and writing everything he can. He's perfectly content with a book or a pencil and paper. Yesterday, he was working on his homework-writing down his sight words. After a few minutes, he brought the paper back to me. He'd written down Mike and Mice and wanted to know which one spelled 'Mickey' (that's his nickname). He was disappointed to learn that neither one worked, that instead he needed all those extra letters. He told me Michael was good enough...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

dinner-time conversations (the boy version)

Though I'm tempted not to share, this is a sample of life in a house of ALL boys!
As we are finishing up with our Sunday dinner (Ben wasn't home yet, it was just me and the younger boys) Andrew pulls out this Rubik's puzzle toy and he was 're-shaping' it. Joshua says (and not quietly) "That looks like a toilet!". I'll admit, it caught me off guard. And in all seriousness, I wanted to say (loudly) in return, Josh, we don't need to talk like that.. But instead, I figured, If you can't beat 'em, join em. So our conversation carried on and we expanded our 'toilet' vocabulary to include other words such as commode, throne, WC (water closet), squatter, and toilet (that's with the French pronunciation...)
What good table conversation, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gratitude 4 the Temple

Today I'm grateful for the Temple. I'm grateful for a young man who had the faith (and courage) to offer a heartfelt prayer in a grove of trees. I'm grateful for a loving Father who called a prophet in our dispensation. I'm grateful for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also the restoration of the Priesthood power. I'm grateful for my family. I'm grateful for the saving ordinances which are performed inside sacred temples of God. I'm grateful for Eternal Marriage, and therefore, Eternal Families. I'm grateful for the beauty and peace we find in the temples, after which we pattern our own homes. I'm grateful for the Temple.

Friday, March 6, 2009

sunshine and songs

There is sunshine in my soul today.....Here in Chicago, we had the most beautiful, wonderful, sunshiney, spring weather today! I don't know exactly how warm it got (and I'm too lazy to check the weather on line) but it was warm enough to wear shorts and love it! (not me, of course. Too pastey!) I'll bet it was mid 70's though.
Sunshine and warmth do something from the inside, out. From a gospel perspective, I was reminded of this one teaching appointment we had with a neat woman named Charisse. (Lori, remember Charisse? hope I'm spelling her name right) I remember her asking us about the Book of Mormon, How did we know it's true? I can honestly say at that moment I felt the Spirit stronger than any other time in my life so far. There was a warmth that permiated from deep inside my chest all the way out to my finger tips, my toes, and the top of my head. It was followed by 'total body pricklies' (words borrowed from Lori). Many times I've reflected on that experience. I still don't have words to explain exactly, but I can say I KNOW the Book of Mormon is true. And if it's true, everything else that follows is true. I believe that living without the gospel is like living in a Chicago winter with no furnace. And having a knowledge of the restored gospel is like living in paradise(but a paradise with a beach! like, I don't know, maybe St Croix?). But as wonderful as the beach is in solitude, it's not nearly as fun as enjoying it with someone special. The Gospel is made to be shared. "It isn't good to be alone, it isn't good."
Thinking of and missing my sisters again today. Thankful for all the wonderful sisters I have! (including you! blood-sister or not)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Energy, don't leave home without it.

Cub scouts it a big deal. It's the perfect chance to begin molding little boys into wonderful men. I'm still learning about Cub Scouts, but for what I've learned thus far, I'm a HUGE fan.
Eight and nine year old boys have a ton of energy! Boys alone can solve all sorts of problems. But get a group of boys together and all brains leave the group; what you are left with is a mass of expanding chaos!!! And we put them in dark blue shirts and call them Cub Scouts!...I love them.
So, the lesson I learned tonight is this; don't challenge the boys to an exercise dual. They'll win! hands down!!!
For those of you who haven't seen me for a while, I'm working to loose a lot of unnecessary body clutter! I'm making little bit and very slow progress, but it's progress none the less. And feeling as good as I do with my progress, I was feeling a little energetic tonight when we had Den meeting. We were talking about taking care of our bodies, feeding them good food, getting enough sleep, and exercising. I asked the Cubs 'who thinks they can do more jumping jacks than me'. (Did I mention they are all 8 and 9 year old boys, full of energy and the size of a sneeze?) I don't think I even made it to twenty before I was laughing so hard! I had to stop the fun and have one of the boys teach the others how to do jumping jacks. He explained that first you make an 'X' with your hands and legs. Then you make an 'I' with your body. Then you do it really fast! I'm giggling just thinking about it. We ditched the jumpin' jacks and tried basketball or running in the gym instead. I'd say that was a good option.
Maybe I can challenge them to stairs next time....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our Father Has a Family

Michael and I had an interesting conversation this morning. I heard him singing a song we learned in Primary...."God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be. This is how He shares His love; for the family is of God." (The Family Is of God -words and music by Matthew Neeley. Published in the children's Friend, Oct 2008)
I asked him, "Micky, do you know that God love us so much that he gave us a family to help us and to take care of us?" His answer..."Yes, and he gave us Jesus too" I can't argue with that! And there's not much teaching I can add to that either. But I did testify that he is right. Our Father gave us families. And he gave his Son. He really does love each of us THAT MUCH! In-comprehendible to me.
I can't tell you how much I love talking about families in Primary. And how I love to watch my family grow. After 1 1/2 years, I'm really missing my sisters. Chicago IS far away! So, until I can give it to you in person (for anyone who reads my blog) here's a hug...{{{a cyber hug}}}

Monday, March 2, 2009

FHE rules

I look forward to Family Home Evening. Now before you get silly ideas that FHE runs smoothly at our house, let me set you straight! I've learned a few tricks that make it better that smooth or perfect. Kids need to contribute. They need to feel ownership. I've become a huge fan of FHE charts. Have I found the perfect one? NO not yet. In fact, since I change my mind frequently, I've just been creating them on the computer. We change every 6 months or so to a new chart. But for certain, I make sure that each child is responsible for something--from lesson, to conducting, from songs or prayers, to activity and treat. I want to create something that my children (yeah, even the oldest who has reached the age of everything being silly and un-necessary) will look forward to and enjoy as much as I do.
Another secret trick I picked up from our Stake Women's Conference was FHE rules. Here are the three most important (for creating the results I want)

1 Avoid Conflicts
2 Always schedule
3 Be consistant

Here are the secrets that these rules help with. First, by avoiding conflicts like arguments or addressing problems, the children (and family) will learn that FHE is a 'spiritual safe harbor' from the world. Children will want to spend time with their family, instead of secluded in their rooms. Essential relationships will be built and nurtured. Parents will become an active part of their children's lives. And children will become friends with their siblings. Save the problems and confrontations for Family Council time. It will help to part from the 'emotion' of the moment.
Scheduling can actually become a natural part of FHE. If all of the family is together, it's easy to grab a calendar and go over who's doing what, when. It's also a great way to get a heads up on the activities and commitments that everyone has going on. And my favorite--it creates a pattern for communication! (boys need help with that!!!)
One of my favorite phrases is (and I'm sorry, I don't know who said it) The best defense is a good offense. If we are pro-active, then we don't have to be re-active.
And consistancy... well I don't have to say much there. It's a matter of making priorities and creating good habits. And of course, it's heeding the words of our prophets. When FHE is consistantly held, the family members will become actively involved in creating the means to accomplish it. It creates a wondeful cycle.
Just a tidbit for parent's of the littlest angels. It still counts for FHE if you sit down and sing Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam and eat goldfish dipped in water (if you don't know what I'm talking about, make a visit to Nursery on Sunday!) There is a WONDERFUL resource for FHE (and families with children, especially as young as toddler aged) available from the church distribution center. It's a manual called Behold Your Little Ones.
So, there's my two bits and then some on Family Home Evening. I hope you find something useful in all these words.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

William (in the news again)


Can you believe the eyes on this boy? I love the blue color, and they are so big! Even though he wasn't feeling his best, I still took the shot and here I am posting it. We are all feeling so much better!
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