Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lessons on Propriety From My 5 Year Old

Emma: Mom, can I watch Little Ariel?
Me: You mean The Little Mermaid?
Emma: (with hands on hips and head cocked for emphasis) Mom, people like to be called by their names. It makes them feel important.

So true.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tender Mercies: Sunday School Edition

So lately I have considered officially changing my middle name to Inadequate. It's just a silly guilt-ridden phase I'm going through. At least I hope it's a phase and not that I really truly am completey over my head in every possible capacity. . .
Anyway, before church yesterday I was in my thinking spot having another personal chat with Heavenly Father and I asked Him to please help me get past this silly slump and find a more confident attitude to replace all the feelings of inadequacy and failure that I have been riddled wih the last couple of weeks.
He came through. He always does.
This time it was through the efforts and preparation of Sister Wach, our wonderful Sunday School teacher. She always puts such foresight into her lessons, and she tries to bring out a different perspective or message from the stories we all know so well. Because of this facet to her teaching style, we got into an interesting discussion about Christ feeding the masses with the loaves and fishes. Sister Wach said that for the first time in studying this familiar miracle, she put her focus on the lad with the fishes and loaves.
There were thousands of people present at that site. Surely more than that boy had come with some kind of provision for hunger, but only that young boy had the faith and the generosity to come up to the Savior and his apostles and offer what he had to try and help with the predicament. The faithful boy knew that what he had to offer would not even put a dent in the need that was before them, but he still brought forth what he had and willingly gave it to the Savior. This 'inadequate' offering was then miraculaously turned into a feast of plenty for the multitude, and that boy got back more than he had started with.
Sister Wach took this interesting perspective and drew a parallel to herself in some of the daunting callings she had been given in her life. She shared her fear and reservation when called to leadership or teaching positions when she was a new convert. She had felt like that small lad with a meager basket not full enough for a multitude, but somehow the Lord had always come through and helped her magnify those abilities to the point that she was able to fulfill her calling successfully and come out the other side with more confidence, faith, and conviction than she had before those callings.
This was my answer to my shower-pleading with the Lord yesterday morning. It isn't so much my church calling that is weighing me down at the moment- but the fact that the church calling is just one of the many hats I am trying to balance at the moment. I don't even look that good in hats. I wish I did though. Hmm, that metaphor took a bad turn. . .
Lately I have felt more than slightly overwhelmed with the weight of my role as a mother and wife and Saint and friend and sister and and and and. Mostly the mom thing, though. The importance of worthy homes and attentive mothers and all that jazz is supposed to be motivating and inspiring but for me, sometimes, all that hype is just terrifying. How am I not supposed to feel frightened when I hear MY influence and teachings for my children will be the MOST integral piece of the puzzle as to whether or not they rebel or succeed? Scary.
I want good kids, and that takes a good mom, and I don't feel like I am all that great at this sometimes. A lot of times. OK, all the dang time!
As Sister Wach talked about the young lad with the barley loves and fishes presenting his limited offering to Christ, and about how He accepted it and made it work, I knew that was the message for me. I am doing what I can, and just like the boy, what I have to offer truly is not enough. I am not being too hard on myself when I say that- I am just being realistic. What I have not been allowing myself to think and feel, however, is that I don't have to do this alone. My meager offering will be supplemented not only by Ross and his fathering awesomeness (for reals- the guy is fantastic) but also by the Lord who wants what is best for my children just as I do.
He will take my mothering loaves and fishes and make them a parenthood feast. Did that take it too far? I hope not.
I am grateful to a wonderful Sunday School teacher who takes her calling seriously and worked a mini miracle in my life through her valiant study and preparation. A tender blessing for sure.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lamentations of the Father

A friend of mine shared this with me. And I laughed. I laughed and laughed and laughed. You might even say I laughed out loud- yea, a true lol kind of experience. Enjoy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book of Mormon Stories FHEs

When I was growing up, my family moved around a lot which means that we wandered from state to state, from house to house (with some apartments, a basement, and a trailer thrown in there), and from ward to ward. That means that a lot of things changed over the years with very few things remaining the same. I never had the same friends, school, or surroundings for longer than 18 months or so.

There were a few important elements, however, that did stay the same. One was that my mother, no matter where we were, always got called as the Primary pianist within a few MINUTES of moving into each new ward. No joke. It was hilarious, but comforting for me to always have my mother there smiling (or shaking her head and scowling depending on my behavior) from over the top of the piano.

Another element of life that always stayed the same is tightly related to my mother's perpetual primary pianist calling. Because she always had to play at least 1.5 hours of music on Sunday, she would practice during the week. I loved this. When she started playing Primary songs, my sisters and I would all gather around and sing along.

Side Note: It turns out that this week-day playing had far less to do with a need for practice than for a need to cut down on all the inevitable bickering that happens in a house with 3 girls close in age. I didn't know that until a couple of days ago. My mom is sneaky and smart!

Anyway, despite my lack of piano skills, I have been trying to learn the Primary songs that Emma is learning so that I can have that same Spirit in my home, and can establish some of those same childhood memories I am so fond of.

Lately, Emma has been requesting that I play Book of Mormon Stories. That is when I was reminded of all the great verses to this song that don't get sung nearly enough because they are so fun. We decided to base our next 6 Family Home Evenings around these verses.

We show a picture of the prophet and one of us tells the story or reads it from the Scriptures and then explains it, and then we learn the new verse about that prophet. Then, every night that week as part of our bedtime ritual, we sing Book of Mormon Stories going all the way to the most recent verse we learned. By the next week, we have it down pat and are ready to add on.

It has been a lot of fun, and I like seeing the girls internalize these stories by attaching not only a visual cue to them (the picture) but a musical one as well (the song). It is also an added bonus that I don't have to plan extensive Family Home Evening lessons for the next however long. It is all planned out, and the kids love it! Emma plans to teach next week's lesson about Abinadi, so I don't even have to do that part. Win, win, WIN!! :)

We have loved this new family activity and I wanted to record it here and also let others know how much fun it has been for us. When we have the Book of Mormon Stories down, we plan to tackle all the verses to Follow the Prophet in the same manner.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby Bear Ate Goldilocks!

Emma came giggling into our room one day in this get up. When I asked her what she was doing she said, "I am Baby Bear, and I ate Goldilocks because she broke my chair!" Hilarious, no?
Then Daddy grabbed Jack who was fresh from a bath and chased Emma around with threats of the Jack Attack being hungry for Baby Bears.

Just a random little detail of a random day that I didn't want to forget.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fire Station and Library Field Trip

A few weeks ago (what? I got behind with all the birthday stuff. . .) Emma's pre-school went on a field trip to the local fire station and library. It was a little cold, and Emma was grumpy the whole time which made it so fun for everyone around her :( However, since then, she has talked about how much fun she had and wants to go again. Memories of a five year old are funny like that I guess. Anyway, here are some cute pictures of Miss Mandy's classes on their field trip.

I was so proud of Emma who knew all the answers to every question even when she was wrong. :)

Emma's favorite part of the fire house was the ambulance that had a bed in the back. She was very into everything the paramedic said, and repeated it all to her Daddy when he came home. Her little mind really is a spongue right now!
This fireman had to get all of his gear on before the kids counted to 30. He was even a good sport when all the boys said he looked like Spiderman with that smoke damper.
Everyone got little helmets. The boys were very into it while the girls asked if there were any pink ones.
All the kids got to get in the firetruck. Emma and Sara both reused to go.

At the library, they were given a quick tour, and then the Mayor came and read them a Dr. Seuss book.
I am glad Emma ended up with good memories from teh trip even if she was a pain, and I am also glad that Sara got to come as she will start her first Pre-School class with Miss Mandy when Emma goes to Kindergarten. *Sob*

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Unexpected Compliment

Last night Jack decided to explode all over the dang place while we were in the Wal-Mart. Ross, being the man that he is, took Jack into the men's room to have some bonding time with his son while he mopped him up. I waited on a bench outside the bathroom while the girls played with some pillow pets.

While I was waiting there, a nice older gentleman walked out and the following uplifting conversation ensued:

Nice Man: Is that your husband in there changing a diaper?
Surprised Me: Yes, I think so.
Nice Man: You must be quite an amazing woman to have a man like that! He is obviously man's man doing something awfully stinky. He really loves you!
Surprised Me: Yes, he is a great daddy and husband.
Nice Man: You are both lucky. Cute couple. Have a good night.

When I told Ross about this surprising conversation as we walked around some more, he said that while in the restroom, the man had complimented Ross for changing the diaper and said that he wished he had done more of that kind of thing when he was a young father and regretted his old fashioned hands-off fathering approach.

All in all, it was a strange and sweet moment that made me feel extremely grateful for my amazing husband and our happy family.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Some Things About That Emma Girl

Here are some fun facts about my 5 year old little princess. Goodness, me. I have a 5 year old.

  1. She thinks she is very grown up. It is not uncommon to hear her talk about how things were when she was a little girl. :) It's cute.
  2. She is a HUGE help to me. She is always willing to help me clean up. She has daily chores like setting the table, cleaning off the table, making her bed, putting her laundry away, and scrubbing the toilets. She asked for that last one and tells me how nice I am when I let her do it. For reals.
  3. Emma is taking piano lessons, and she loves it. She loves her teacher (I don't blame her. Heidi is awesome!), and she loves to practice. She has memorized Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and likes to show it off.
  4. Emma is so close to reading, but is struggling to just put it all together. I see a lot of myself in her when we work on it, because she gets frustrated and down on herself when it doesn't just click. I do that same thing, so hopefully I can try to help her cope with that. She is doing well and should be able to have basic reading skills before she goes to Kindergarten in the fall. (yes, typing that last sentence did make me burst into tears. why do you ask?)
  5. She loves to help me cook. I don't love it so much as it slows me down and usually results in a mess. I learned to let her help me more often despite all of that when she filled out a survey in Primary that said, "I Know My Mommy Loves Me When. . . she lets me help her cook."
  6. She is a SPONGUE! She remembers everything you tell her. She gives me detailed accounts of what happened at pre-school and primary, and can repeat verbatim stories and scriptures and songs that she learns there. That is why we are having her memorize scriptures and articles of faith. It sticks right now and I love it.
  7. Emma is very particular about her bedtime routine. If we try to leave things out to speed things along, she gets upset.
  8. She has become a really good eater. I am SO relieved about this because she was so picky for a while. I am also relieved because if Emma will try something, so will Sara. She has had enough yummy things lately that she was once sure were yucky that she is willing to take one bite of anything I put in front of her. Most of the time she ends up liking it. Last night we had asparagus, mangoes, tossed salad with olives and sausage, and some creamy pasta with bacon. She ate every bite and asked for extra asparagus. Awesome.
  9. Emma loves her teachers. All of them. I am so grateful for each of them as well. Her pre-school teacher is wonderful and attentive and makes Emma feel so special whenever they meet. Her piano teacher praises her and pushes her to work hard, which she does. Her primary teachers are wonderful and teach her amazing lessons that she remembers and teaches us later. They even stopped by to give her a Valentines gift and a birthday gift this last month. I am extremely grateful for that as our ward with its super primary has trouble getting teachers to commit to and care for their classes. Emma lucked out two years in a row, and I am so grateful.
  10. Emma now has a silver tooth. I try not to be embarassed about this, but I kind of am. Apparently she inherited the bad habit of grinding her teeth at night. Ross and I both have this problem. In doing so, she cracked one of her baby teeth. It never hurt her, so we just tried to make sure we brushed it good every night. Despite all our efforts, it got some decay and had to be capped. She was really sad about this until Ross showed her all his silver fillings. Ross has horrible teeth- so we are hoping the grinding is her only problem, and that she will have Jones teeth- but not Heather's. . . ;)

Wow, that ended up longer than I was planning. I guess I just like talking about her. She is wnderful, and I am so proud of her. She is sweet and smart and she makes my life so easy and fun. I love her with all of my heart and am so grateful that I get to be her mommy. (Even if she does prefer her daddy. . .)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Emma's Birthday Part 2

Emma chose to have her birthday meal be 'Little pizzas that everyone makes and can choose what goes on them.' It was a great idea! My family came over, and after some yummy pizzas and cake, we had presents. This is lame commentary, but I just need to post this and move on with my blogging life. :) Here are some pictures Heather sent me.
We watched Jack try and figure out how to use this cup for a good 20 minutes. It was hilarious.
She put 6 candles on the cake, and only got 5 of them out with her first breath. I say that counts. :)

Happy Birthday Roo!
She opened most of her presents so fast she didn't even get a chance to see what they were until the end when we were cleaning it all up. She loved the all. Ross and I got her a little bike. The one we got her last year is too big for her. She fell down on it and was too scared to ever ride very fast on it after that. We are hoping this smaller bike will be better.
That lion is from my dad. Emma named him Play Dough. I love it.
She got books and clothes from Grandma Jones, a fishingpole from Grandpa, A sparkly horse and fairy from Heather, Moon Dough from Caulene (which I was upset about when I first saw it, but it turns out to be completely awesome!), Clothes and a stuffed Puppy from Grandma Goodman, Tangled PJs from Sara, and a Tangled doll from Ross. I am sure there was more but that is what I remember. She loved all of it. My kids are so loved, and that makes me so very happy. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this celebration for my lovely little girl.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Emma's Birthday Part One

We wanted to try and give Emma two separate birthday celebrations since Sara got two separate birthday celebrations. Instead of trying to figure out what she would want, I asked her since she has been so full of good ideas lateley. She was, and both parties were wonderful.

On Saturday she wanted to go see Tangled again. We spent the morning babysitting some boys for a woman in my ward whose husband is in the military and needs time to train for a marathon. The girls had lots of fun with their little friends. When they left, we headed down to Orem where we had fun walking around the mall. Emma especially liked the Disney Store.
When one of the employees heard it was her birthday, they got her a fun sticker and some coloring sheets.
Sara got jealous, so they got her a sticker too.
After that we met my family at the movie theater and enjoyed an almost empty theater to see Tangled. I loved it almost more the second time around. It was great. My dad liked it too.
When we got home, Emma helped me make her cake so it would be ready to go for her party the next day. She had lots of ideas about the cake too, so I tried to implement as many as I could. She wanted a rainbow inside, so we did three layers with different colors. I would have done more, but I only have three pans, and I didn't want to have too much left over cake.

She was so proud to be using the mixer by herself. She is so big.
On her cake she wanted, and I quote, "Sprinkles and my name and stars and hearts and a picture of a pretty princess cake for a princess." I used my fancy new sillhouette to make some stencils, and Emma sprinkled on all the shapes we could fit. We didn't get the, 'picture of a pretty princess cake for a princess', but she was happy when I told her that her cake was a pretty princess cake for a princess so I would take a picture of it. Did anyone follow that? My life seems strange sometimes.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Ross's New Mantra

This is not as much of a joke as it may seem. . .