Friday, September 19, 2014
I don't know why I feel like I need to take a picture of Elliot every time he takes a nap, but I do. My instagram is full of them. These pictures bring me a lot of joy. They help me remember that he is still small, and that this time is fleeting. Next year, he'll be a big kindergartner, going to school all day long. I am trying to appreciate this last, slow year that we have together. Most days I try to lay down with him. And when I do, it always ends up being the highlight of my day.
Big news: there are no 100 degree days on our forecast! It is so strange to me that the upper 90s mean fall. I literally sigh with relief when the high is only (only!) going to be 97. Oh well, take what you can get, right?
I'm forcing my kids to watch the original Parent Trap tonight. What do you have planned?
Have a good weekend!
posted by stephanie at 5:43 AM
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Yesterday was rainy and dark. It was begging for pumpkin bread and a knitting project. So I threw some loaves in the oven and looked through my basket of yarn. I hadn't picked up my knitting needles in years. It was so fun! But here's the best part: as I sat on the couch, knitting away, it was as if my family was compelled to sit with me and talk. One by one, they made their way into the room to tell me about their day. All I had to do was listen. I wasn't focused on a book, or my phone. My hands were busy, but my mind was open, and they must have sensed that difference. It was wonderful. I need to remember this in the future.
Plus, there is just something so satisfying about taking a tangle of yarn and turning it into perfectly ordered rows.
I'm thinking of attempting a sweater next.
posted by stephanie at 9:36 AM
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
A few months ago, Mike made this extra large print of The Family, A Proclamation to the World for me. (I talked about it here.) It measures 16x20 inches, and is simple, clear, and easy to read. I love it.
If you'd like a copy for your family, Mike has made them available to download for a small fee. It can be printed in your home or at your favorite printing shop (or Costco), up to 20x24 inches. More details and info here.
It's hard to illustrate the large scale of the print, but I think this grainy action shot does a better job:
posted by stephanie at 2:26 PM
Friday, September 12, 2014
The other night, we finished the always hectic homework/dinner/bath/bedtime routine with a little time to spare. I love when that happens. One of my greatest pleasures is reading in bed, and I love when my children are able to do that, too. Stella is discovering chapter books and it makes my heart happy for her.
Any fun plans this weekend? I think yard work might be on our agenda. And maybe ice cream. So I guess that makes the yard work ok.
I hope the morning air is crisp and the leaves are starting to turn wherever you are! Have a good weekend.
posted by stephanie at 5:35 AM
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I don't claim to be an expert in parenting. I realize that my experience is very limited. My situation is unique, and what my family and I experience can be very different from what other families experience. But when I find something really great that works for our family, that is a solution to a problem that we (and others might) face, I can't help but pass it on.
Like you, maybe, I have wanted to talk to my children about the dangers of pornography for a long time, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. It can be such an uncomfortable subject. I was nervous. I didn't think they were ready. I didn't want to shatter their innocence by talking about something so yucky. The truth is, I was always able to come up with a hundred excuses to put it off a little longer.
On the recommendation of a friend, I purchased the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures. And then it sat under my bed for a few months, gathering dust. But on the heels of a really great Relief Society lesson last Sunday, I felt prompted to share it with my kids now. I couldn't put it off any longer. The risk is too great. Did you know that 100% of teenagers will be exposed to pornography by the time they are 18? 100%! It's actually not that shocking to me. Pornography is everywhere. On every newsstand, on many billboards, definitely all over the internet and so, so easily accessible. I believe that it is Satan's number one tool for destroying families these days. I wasn't willing to risk mine for one more minute.
So on Monday night, after we had fun at the park, we piled onto the couch and read Good Pictures Bad Pictures together as a family. And then we talked about it! And it wasn't awkward! Oh! I can't speak highly enough about this book. It explains pornogrpahy in a way that even my Stella could understand. It teaches about addiction, and how an addiction to pornography can change your brain and damage your ability to have meaningful relationships later in life. It tells kids about their "feeling brain" and their "thinking brain" and how those two brains work together to keep them safe. And it puts it all in such a way that they can understand and then act on what they have learned. One of my favorite parts is the plan of action it describes in case they are ever exposed to pornography. It teaches them to look away, to alert an adult, how to distract themselves from the memory of the harmful images, and how to put their "thinking brain" in charge so that they don't become susceptible to addiction.
Reading this book together started the conversation. It made it comfortable and easy. And now I feel confident to continue the conversation with my children, because it really is something that needs to be ongoing.
If this is something you are worried about, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
This talk by Sister Reeves, Protection from Pornography - A Christ-Focused Home, from our last General Conference and this article from the Ensign, Healing Hidden Wounds, are good references on the subject, too.
posted by stephanie at 5:23 AM
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
We woke up Monday morning to rain. Lots and lots of rain. So much rain that our street completely disappeared and waves lapped half way up our driveway. So much rain that the park behind our house (which doubles as a retention basin) became a lake. And when that happens on a Monday, well Family Home Evening becomes a lot more exciting, I'll tell you what.
posted by stephanie at 5:29 AM
Monday, September 08, 2014
On our way to Ike's for Oliver's birthday dinner Saturday night, we went around the car telling him what we love most about him. There were lots of "he's funny" and "he plays with me." I said that I loved how obedient he is. Really, I only have to ask him to do something once and he will do it, usually without complaint.
Oliver is a good brother with a big, generous heart. He'd give you the shirt off his back and make you smile while he did it.
We love our Oliver!
posted by stephanie at 7:17 PM
Friday, September 05, 2014
Hooray for the weekend! I'm so glad it's here. A cold has been making its way around our house, and it has found me, so I am looking forward to not doing a thing this weekend. How about you?
Plus, it's supposed to rain. That makes us all very happy, but especially our Oliver, who is hoping for a storm tomorrow on his birthday. He'll be 10! I feel like he should have been 10 ages ago, such a smart, mature boy. I can't wait to wrap up his presents and celebrate with him.
Have a good one!
posted by stephanie at 6:43 AM
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Every fall, when the kids are back at school and the house is quiet, I wander room by room, notepad in hand, making a list of things that need a change - things that aren't working for our family anymore, things that need to be freshened or organized or purged. It might still be blazing hot outside, but the urge has struck and I can't ignore it. The first thing I tackled was our little office off of the kitchen.
Originally an old upright freezer sat in this spot. Then Mike built the desk and I did my sewing here. Then we switched my sewing machine for the computer. Now Mike works from home most of the time, so we moved the computer into my sewing room so that he can have some peace and quiet while he is working. This little desk was staring me in the face, begging for a job to do.
Meanwhile, our family room in the basement was feeling quite cramped. There was a small table in the corner for coloring and crafts, but my kids' legs were getting too long for that darling little table and it wasn't getting much use anymore. So I moved all of the art supplies upstairs into our bright office instead. Moving things that I already own to a new spot is my favorite kind of redecorating.
As soon as I finished, Elliot got right to work. Ideally Mabel and Oliver will do their homework here, but you know they'll end up at the kitchen table, papers and books spread over every inch of it instead, right? :)
painting by Beth Allen
posted by stephanie at 11:46 AM
Friday, August 29, 2014
What a week! Just kidding. Nothing happened around here at all this week. Well, that's not true. I reorganized our lego collection (into type instead of color, don't ask me why). It only took me two solid days. I'm not sure that my back is ever going to be the same again. Guess what! We have too many legos! But now they are tucked away in a little dresser in our family room that wasn't being used well before, so hopefully that will keep them from spreading over the entire length of our family room carpet. Oh, who am I kidding. I'm sure they'll still end up all over the place. I have a serious love/hate relationship with those things.
Also this week, I turned 35. I usually spend my birthdays feeling out of sorts, and this one was no different. I try really hard to treat it like any other day, but I must have some major subconscious expectations that doom me to feeling off. Does that happen to you, too? I'm almost relieved when it's over so that I can go back to feeling regular again. I didn't even want a birthday cake, and that is saying something. I'm hoping for a belated birthday ice cream date with Mike this weekend instead.
Have a happy weekend! I hope wherever you are will be cooler than our forecasted 108 degrees. If so, enjoy it for me. This heat is slowly crushing my spirit.
Over and out.
posted by stephanie at 6:17 AM
Friday, August 22, 2014
This photo is a pretty accurate description of our week here at home. Meaning, it has been very quiet, just the way I like it. Last week, I was looking for a new book to read, so I checked my to-read list on Goodreads and requested some of the books from our library. Then they all came ready on the same day! So I've had my nose stuck in a book every moment I could spare (and some that I could not). I'll post about the books soon. There have been some good ones in the bunch, like The Invention of Wings. A must-read!
Have you read anything good lately? I'm always looking to add to my list.
I hope you have a good weekend. The weather here has actually been bearable the last couple of days. It gives me hope for fall. How about let's all bake something pumpkiny this weekend. Sound good?
p.s. Happy birthday to my wonderful mother!
posted by stephanie at 5:39 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I've been in a funk all week. I'm completely blaming it on the weather. There is only so much of this darn heat that I can take before I want to curl up into a ball until fall. It has put me majorly out of sorts, and I feel like I've tried everything get over it. I've gone shopping. I've baked cookies. I've taken naps. I've cleaned out my closet. None of those things did the trick. I've been sort of mopey and lacking in motivation for days now. Then I remembered the best way to break out of a funk: physical activity, even when I don't feel like it. Especially when I don't feel like it. Yesterday I scrubbed my floors and mowed the lawn. I went running. I didn't want to do any of those things, but I felt better after I had. And today I went for a swim.
One of my goals this school year, now that Elliot is in preschool a few mornings a week, is to swim. I was a swimmer as a teenager, but that was half of my lifetime ago and I have missed it. Today was the day! I pulled on my swim cap, adjusted my goggles, and took the plunge. I swam for 30 minutes, which might not sound like much, but I'll tell you what, it was enough to turn my arms to jelly. I am having a hard time typing right now, if I'll be honest. But it felt so good to push myself! What I love most about swimming is the silence. It is so quiet (aside from the sound of my desperate gasps for air, of course), allowing me to focus on my thoughts. It's just me and the water. I like to feel my body stretching, propelling myself forward. It is calming and peaceful and invigorating all at the same time and it makes me happy.
Swimming might not be your jam. That's ok. Maybe you like to do yoga, or ride a bike. Sometimes a quick walk around the block is just the thing. But if you are in a funk, I promise that if you do something physical (outside if you can), you'll feel better. I know I do.
posted by stephanie at 1:22 PM
Friday, August 15, 2014
So, we are more than a week into the school year. Shouldn't we be wearing sweaters yet? Or at the very least eating pumpkin bread? Sheesh! It's about this time every year that I've had enough of the heat. I mean it.
Baby steps until November, when every day is the perfect temperature.
I hope you have a good weekend, filled with dreamy naps just like this one that Elliot took last week. He still naps nearly every day and I am so grateful.
p.s. Happy birthday to my little brother, Dr. Lincoln DMD!
posted by stephanie at 5:04 AM
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I love the idea of choosing a theme for the new school year, something for our family to focus on. I put a lot of thought into the theme I choose, taking into consideration each of my children and the struggles they might face during the year. This year, as Mabel and Oliver were starting at a new school, I wanted to choose something that would give them strength when they were feeling nervous, or scared, or lonely. The lyrics from the primary song, A Child's Prayer, kept coming into my mind, and I knew that this is what our family needed right now.
The night before school started, I gathered my children in the living room for a little lesson to introduce the theme. I used this excellent talk from President Faust called, The Lifeline of Prayer, as a basis for my words that night. We talked about what a prayer is, and how it can help us. We shared times when we prayed and felt comforted afterwards. I want my children to know that they are never alone, that our Heavenly Father is always there, and that He can hear their prayers, even those prayers that are uttered in the middle of crowded hallways in new schools.
It makes sending them off into the world just a little bit easier.
posted by stephanie at 12:46 PM