Friday, May 28, 2010

Which Would You Choose? . . .

I had an interesting conversation with Ky the other day. We were on our way to do a little book hunting at a local thrift store, and she strikes up this conversation:

Ky: "Hey Mom?"

Me: "Ya?"

Ky: " Which would you choose, a candy bar or a book?"

Me: "That's a great question! Which would you choose?"

Ky: " I would choose the book."

Me: "Really, why?"

Ky: "Well, the candy bar is good to eat, but the thrill of it only lasts for a few moments. Once you're done with it, you don't continue to enjoy it. With a book, you thoroughly enjoy it while you are reading it and you can continue to enjoy it for a long time after. If you remember what the book is about, you can think about it for years afterward and remember how great it was. You can also learn a lot from them."

Bugaloo: "I agree!"

Me: "Really Bugaloo, what would you choose?"

Bugaloo: " A book, totally!"

And what was I doing during this entire conversation? Back flips, front flips, secretly crying, secretly laughing, giving myself a huge high five (all in my mind, of course, after all I was driving.) This is one of those moments that we all wait for. This is the Love of Learning that I want all of my children to have and I hope that I am doing all there is to help them find it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joining In . . .

I have been away for a while. It has been almost a week since my last post and I can honestly say that I have been anxiously engaged in activities that are enriching to my family, home, and myself. I found myself, many times, in the depths of this, that, or the other and have desperately and wholeheartedly been climbing out of it.

I think that after a while, we can all come to the point when we realize that, no matter how much we don't want it to be true, we all have STUFF that we don't need or for that matter want. After a lot, A LOT of great examples from other bloggers and books, I rolled up the sleeves and jumped into it. Now, I need to preface this by saying that I am in no way finished with this job. As usual, LIFE seemed to creep in every time I would get a good rhythm going. But, little by little, I have been purging. I can truly say that I am not a stuff person. I hate clutter in every form, but somehow it always seems to get in there. I would compare it to a tick. Yes, a tick. Ticks are tiny arachnids (did you know they were an arachnid and not a bug? Go figure . . .) Anyway, they hide on tall grass and bushes (like sagebrush) and wait to attach themselves to passersby to do their damage. Stuff is a lot the same but in reverse. Stuff gets carried around by "passersby" and waits for the most opportune time to break free and find a nice comfy spot to "hide" for as long as it can. I am sick and tired of stuff!

So, I have started to go through EVERYTHING in my house and if it has not been used in the last 6 months to a year, it is gone. As I have gone on this journey, I have been pretty surprised at what I have saved. I thought I did a thorough job when we moved into this house almost 2 years ago, but here I am with boxes and boxes and sacks and sacks full of stuff to get rid of. UGH!!!!!!!

The positives to purging? Less STUFF to take care of!!!!! I started with my kids rooms first and it has been great to see that it is easier for them to take care of things when there is less of it. With the littles, I also did a good job of putting things up out of reach for the simple reason that they must now ask for things to play with. Now, before I get a bunch of comments, they still have a couple of items on their bookshelf along with all their books, but I want them to learn that they have to take care of this before getting that.

I have since moved onto the basement, which is currently under construction ( and may I say that the head contractor, ya he's a hottie!) anyway, I have been going through the boxes of STUFF that reside temporarily there and I will admit that after 12 years of marriage, I just threw away all the cards that people gave us at our wedding. Yikes, I know!! I've had it and now, I won't have any of it! So it is still a work in progress, but it is progressing and that is encouraging.

*** On a side note, that "head contractor" and I celebrated those 12 years a couple of Saturdays ago and I still feel like the luckiest woman on earth. Love you Hun!!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Can Do This . . .

Why is it that we, at times, doubt what we can do, even though it is humanly possible and is most times best for us? In a book series called The Great and Terrible, the author, Chris Stewart, portrays Satan and the spirits that follow him in a light that I find helpful. The spirits of Satan are ALWAYS right by you observing every move you make, both physically and mentally. They see your weaknesses and use that to their advantage. They whisper bits of self loathing or even encouragement to do and/or think those things that would be detrimental to your own spiritual happiness and progression. I had a couple of moments like that last week.

The first, though a bit trivial, was as simple as an attitude of quitting. I started running a little over a year ago and I have recently been training for a run at the end of the summer. I had to run a certain length on Saturday and was shocked at how easily I wanted to just stop. I kept telling myself that it was stupid to keep running, what's the point. No one would know, why was I subjecting myself to the pain anyway?

Immediately, I realized how negative the thoughts were and I actually was saying out loud to myself, "I am a runner, I can do this", over and over again. I realized how easy it would have been to give up and just stop running, but it has helped to improve my overall health and attitude. I find that on days that I run, I have a more cheerful outlook, this may also be because I feel that I have started the day in an organized way; running, reading, studying, praying. It all seems to fall into place.

Well, I was starting to feel the same way yesterday about our home and progress at core phase. Oh, we have been doing great with it. Family work has been smooth for the most part. There is room for improvement, but everyone has been giving their all. Then I have a day, like yesterday, where it all seems to come crashing down. The kids don't want to give their share. Basically, I have this vision of how things can work and run and they don't! Then I start to doubt my decisions and wonder if this is truly the way we want to go. It seems to work great, are there truly times when there are kinks and I just need to learn to work through and beyond like with running? I keep telling myself this.

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to learn more about some gospel principles from some of our general authorities, including our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. We were able to participate in a Regional Conference. Their words were encouraging and also a reminder to me, that I am making decisions on behalf of my family that are pleasing unto the Lord. I feel discouraged and think immediately of those spirits of Satan that know me so well, that are encouraging me to think such self doubt and then I hear an apostle of the Lord remind us what our opportunity and duty as parents are:

"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live."

I immediately feel an overwhelming feeling of approval that what I am doing as a mother is the right way for us.

It is true that it would be easier to give into my own self doubt and find an easier route to teach my children these things, but would it be worth it? What would be left out? Will they see right through me and realize that I am not giving it my all? Perhaps, but I will definitely see right through it. I think the realization of my own failures would be much harder to live with than my struggle to stay on the path that I have felt inspired to be on. I am just thankful for prayer, the scriptures, and the words of the apostles that guide and encourage our lives.

So to all those that are struggling just a bit or a lot in your journey to teach your children, be strong, endure, and keep telling yourself, " I can do this, I am a Mother!"

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Inspiring Evening . . .

Last Thursday, Ky, Bugaloo, and I had a fun and inspiring Mother/Daughter date. We went to dinner, enjoyed some yummy food and had a good time chatting. I took this time to ask them both how they liked the books they have been reading lately and what they had learned from them. They were very animated in their explanation of the different art techniques, the stories of composers, the facts about soccer and hummingbirds. They expressed an interest in learning more about all of these things and I told them about some other resources we had and that I would look into finding more books for them. Bugaloo read Black Beauty and just loved the story.

After dinner and a quick stop at a local store, for some much needed items, we made our way to the main event for the night. When we got there, as we were waiting in line, I noticed that the great majority (maybe 90%) of the other people were dressed very casual as if they walked in off the street. We were attending a concert of a symphony orchestra. The girls and I were not "fancy" dressed, but we wore nice skirts and dresses. We would wear the same thing to church. So here is my question for all of you;

When attending an event like an orchestra concert, a piano concert, a broadway level play, etc, should we not teach our
children that it is a special occasion and that we should dress accordingly?

I really want to know, so share your opinions.

The orchestra did a wonderful job and we especially enjoyed the guest performer, Jon Schmidt. He is an amazingly talented pianist. He made the show fun and wonderful to experience. We love listening to his albums in our home. Usually once a day, we listen to his songs. While standing in line for him to autograph a cd, we overheard him telling a young piano student that if he really wanted to be a great pianist, then he needed to be obsessed with the piano for about 6 months and then he would know. Ky said that she was going to increase her practice time to an hour a day and Bugaloo said that she wanted to practice more too.

Bugaloo, Jon Schmidt, Ky

The best part of the evening was watching the girls' faces while they listened to Jon play. Sometimes they sat back and listened and at other times they were on the edge of their seats, eyes wide, and their faces glowing. Those are the moments that inspire and I am so glad that I can give my children experiences that inspire them.

What experiences have you given to your children that have inspired them to do or learn something?

Jon Schmidt performing ROCKmaninoff (prelude in C sharp minor)

Enjoy !

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Hello All!!! I hope that you have had a nice and enjoyable Mother's Day. Before I announce the winners, I wanted to share a quote that I heard this week and found inspiring.

"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers
exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career."

C. S. Lewis

Well, onto the real reason for this post, WINNERS ! ! ! They are:




Congratulations ladies! Thanks to everyone that participated. I loved reading the comments that you left and felt enriched by your words of experience. I encourage everyone to go to the comments for the giveaway post and read the great things shared there.

Corine and Ann, please leave me a comment for THIS post with an email that I can contact you to get a mailing address. I will NOT publish the comments for public viewing. Thanks again everyone and ENJOY!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

GIVEAWAY ! ! ! !

Yes, it's my first GIVEAWAY ever!!!!! I have a few extra copies of a book that I just read and LOVED and I wanted to share them with someone, so what better way than to do a GIVEAWAY !!! I don't think this will be a usual occurrence, but I love when other bloggers do them and so I thought I would too.

I just finished reading an amazing, inspirational tale of womanhood. I ordered a few of these little booklets ( only 26 pages) from the site Love To Learn . I sign up for their email specials and every so often they have some great books and deals. The booklet is called, When Queens Ride By written by Agnes Slight Turnbull in 1888. I had never read it before, but their description of the story got me hooked and so I ordered a few. Here is what they say about it:

"I have re-read this treasure countless times during my 33 years of marriage to help me remember how important it is to be the wife and mother God wants me to be! This charming, touching story will make you want to put a tablecloth on the table, brush your hair, and put on your lipstick right now. "

So back to the GIVEAWAY !!! I will give 2 people their very own copy of this great, uplifting tale. To enter, please leave a comment to this post about a characteristic of great womanhood that has inspired you and who inspired it. Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments and being thoroughly enriched!

The winner will be chosen at random ( this means I will put all the names in a bowl and let my 2 year old pick them out. That's random, right?) I will post the winners on Sunday, May 9th (that's right on Mother's Day). Make sure you leave an email so I can get a hold of you. So check back and Enjoy !!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This and That . . .

Last Monday, we took advantage of the semi-good weather and took the kids out for a hike and a little Geocaching. Here is a description from a Geocaching website:

"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout
the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic
idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches
(sometime we call them a cache), outdoors and then share
your experiences online."

So you get the coordinates for the "cache" online and then it is up to you to find them. Sometimes the coordinates are right on and sometimes they can be within 10 feet, so some searching is involved. Sometimes, the "hider" of the cache will leave a short clue. We headed to the hills with our GPS, clues, and walking sticks and had a great time. We ended up finding 6 cahes, that is a record for us for 1 trip. JJ did great hiking on the trails and only needed help through the brush. The older kids all got to use the GPS and we had to work together to find them. It is a great exercise is working as a team to solve a problem and also in following direction and looking at a map. We searched until dark and then came home.

Peaches finding her cache.

I finished the next step in the challenge in Appendix F of A Thomas Jefferson Education. I read through the Declaration of Independence, looked up the definition of any words I didn't know or were unclear, listed 10 things that stood out to me and discussed it with someone. Honestly, my head hurt! I can't remember the last time I really THOUGHT about something that deep and I have always read and studied. It was amazing. Surprisingly, there were about 16 words that I had to look up that I didn't know or was unclear of. This is an amazing tool for study and I need to be more vigilant at annotating when I read.

I was so amazed at the deep yet simple ideas and thoughts put into this wonderful document. Our founding fathers were truly inspired men! It was sad though that I found so many things in the Declaration of Independence that I believe our country is struggling with right now.

I am ready to move onto the next step, but . . . I lent my book to someone and didn't write down the next step!!! AARGH . . . Ya, I know, that wasn't the smartest thing to do. I get a little excited when someone wants to borrow the book though. I will have to call and ask them to tell me the remainder of the steps so I can keep going.

Onto the kids, Ky has LOVED reading the composer biographies that we got from the library and wants MORE! Bugaloo has done great with the art books and draws all the time. I got some art appreciation cards just recently and can't wait to get those out for the kids to look at.

We had a great time searching for books at a local thrift store and scored big time. We got some great classics, including The Red Badge of Courage, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, Rebekah of Sunnybrook Farm and MORE!! We also got a few biographies, two for George Washington and one of Paul Revere. My husband's comment was, "Well, I need to get bookselves made. We'll need a lot." That's right Honey, a lot!!!!

We already finished Stuart Little and I think it is definitely a favorite, the kids LOVED it.
Well, good luck to you all in your adventures and Enjoy!!