Bump, Thump, Tap

Yes, folks, there really is something in there and it’s letting me know several times a day! For the last week or so I was pretty sure I was feeling movement, but it was still the “is that the baby or not?” type. Now it’s not mistakable. That’s definitely the first little bumps, thumps, and taps of a little growing baby!

A Mostly Homemade Christmas (part 8)

This had to wait until after Christmas to post because I made them for my best friend and we didn’t get the Christmas gifts mailed until the Saturday before Christmas. Since she reads my blog I had to wait until she got it to post about her gift!

I cross stitched on 28 count linen scenes from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The patterns came out of a pamphlet that was stuck in a pile of cross stitch magazines and things my mom gave me a couple years ago. The X’s are stitched over two squares making it effectively 14 count. Then I turned the cross stitched pictures into ornaments to hang on the tree.

A Mostly Homemade Christmas

Christmas Present Highlights

I have an uncle who manages to get THE PERFECT GIFT for my kids every time. I don’t know how he does it as this uncle has never been married and doesn’t have children. He used to get us perfect gifts when we were little, too. It’s amazing.

For Ani, he got a gorgeous dress. She wants to wear it constantly and just plain feels pretty in it. When she opened it she wasn’t sure if it was really for her because it looks so grown up and isn’t pink or other pastels like most things she wears. He also got her a microscope. This was perfect timing since she was in the middle of her reader Greg’s Microscope. She has been enjoying that a lot.

For Cameron, he got a magic set. Cameron is absolutely loving it and really so is Ani. Cameron has told Ani she can be his assistant when he’s a magician. I used to do magic and so I remember some of the tricks from when I was a kid.

For Fritz, he got a Discovery Toys play table. It has a phone on it and that just thrills Fritz. He loves phones. He loves anything that could possibly be considered a phone. It also has frogs that “sing” Old MacDonald. Fritz likes to dance to that. It does various other things but the frogs and phone are definitely Fritz’s favorites.

My brother’s family gave us a children’s chess set. It has the rules around the board. This is perfect because the kids (mostly Ani) have learned to play chess using the Fritz and Chesster computer games, but remembering all the rules during the game doesn’t always happen. Ani and Cameron have been playing a lot of chess over the last couple days.

My parents gave Cameron a lamp with Spider-Man on it. Spider-Man moves and it plays the Amazing Spider-Man song when you press a button. It’s very loud and Cameron likes to hit the button and then run downstairs to listen to it and then run back to his room to press it again over and over.

For Ani, my parents got an Easy Bake Oven. She really wanted one and although the redesigned ones are hard to find, they got one. She is thrilled with it. She’s made a single layer cakes and a two-layer cake so far. For Fritz, they got a stuffed lamb. They actually got it at the Scottish Games in Williamsburg back in September. Fritz had hugged it so much my mom couldn’t resist. He still loves that lamb and talks to it and makes it “talk” back to him, too.

It was a very lovely Christmas with lots of real “hits” with the presents!

A Mostly Homemade Christmas (part 6)

Our children get three main gifts (plus stockings) each Christmas. They get a cross stitched ornament, a personalized book, and something else. This year for Fritz’s personalized book I took an idea from my SIL’s sister. Last year she made my niece an ABC book that included pictures of their extended family on the appropriate pages.

I used an 8×8 scrapbook for Fritz’s ABC Book. I printed pictures of each member of our family, my parents, and my sister and brother’s families. I glued the pictures to the appropriate pages. Then I added stickers of things that start with each letter of the alphabet. Finally, I wrote under each picture or sticker who or what it is of.

Of course just like I did with the Discovery Bottles, I let Fritz look at the book for a little while last night. He liked pointing to stickers and having me tell him what they are. I think this is going to be a big hit on Tuesday!

A Mostly Homemade Christmas

Mothers Who Know by Julie Beck

There’s been a lot of controversy on the internet concerning the talk given by Sister Julie Beck, general president of the Relief Society, at General Conference in October. I’m not really sure why. Her talk was amazing and, truly, nothing new or surprising. While I found her talk to be lovely, there are clearly things in it I need to work on. There’s always stuff we can work on. If there wasn’t, there’d be no reason for the talk.

Mothers Who Know Bear Children
As women, we are the ones with the parts to bear children. Some women do not have a chance to have children of their own either because they do not marry or they suffer from infertility. Simply having children is not what is important. Desiring to bear children is. This principle is not an issue for me at all, particularly considering I am pregnant with baby number four.

Mothers Who Know Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
Guiding children toward the temple starts with being a good example. Sister Beck mentions Sacrament Meeting being where we renew those covenants and having the children looking nice. Looking the part of a perfect family with nothing under the surface supporting that is not the goal. The goal is to look nice because we are going to church where we are worshiping the Lord. I could work on this. For some reason it doesn’t matter what time church starts, 9, 11:30, or 2, we always get ready a half hour before we leave. We rush around at the last minute and often arrive at church without having touched the kids’ hair with brushes. This really isn’t right. Ani went on a tour of the White House Friday and we took the time to make sure she was dressed nicely and her hair was up with a bow in it. Shouldn’t church, the Lord’s house where we worship Him, be WAY more important than the President’s house? I’ve got something to work on here.

Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers
Men and women have different purposes. That is clear from The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Sister Beck discusses keeping an orderly home and, yes, homemaking. This doesn’t mean women should do all the work, but the fact is if we are home all day as we should be the bulk of the work can and should fall to us. Homemaking and child-rearing is our career. As we work around the house, we are teaching our children how to work as well. How often do we push kids away as we cook, clean, or do laundry because it’ll take ten times as long with their “help.” We shouldn’t do that. One day these children, particularly girls, will have their own homes to care for. Sister Beck reminds us that God’s house is a house of order and we should pattern our own homes after His. I know I feel better and calmer and am a better mother when our house is clean. Do I keep it clean? Nope, not too well. Another thing I need to work on.

Mothers Who Know Are Leaders
Sister Beck urges women to plan for their own future and the futures of their children. We are to be an example for our children. We are not to listen to the world and what society says is the way to mother. We must stick to what we know to be right. We are to be selective about what we do to be sure our focus remains where it should. How well I am doing with this principle is iffy. I would like to scrapbook more. It’s definitely an activity worthy of my time. It even relates to family history. But it is not something easy to do with small children. So my time is limited for that. And that’s okay. One day I’ll be able to scrapbook as much as I want. One day my children will not be small. On the other hand, I spend way too much time on-line. I only go to two message boards, one for moms and one for the homeschooling curriculum we use. But, somehow, I can spend hours on them. That’s not a worthy activity, nor a good use of my time or focus. I have work to do there, too.

Mothers Who Know Are Teachers
Sister Beck reminds us to remember family scripture study, prayer, and family home evening, as well as other times such as mealtimes as times to teach our children. I am a double teacher for my kids. Not only must I teach them gospel principles, but I am also their educational teacher since we homeschool. Since we started using Sonlight, it has actually become easier to apply this principle. God and Jesus Christ are woven into the Sonlight cores and we get to discuss the gospel right along with school stuff sometimes. We try very hard to have family scripture study and prayer daily and family home evening weekly, but we are not always successful. We have to try harder there.

Mothers Who Know Do Less
The world runs at a very fast pace. People talk about simplifying. They talk about going slower. According to some our children must be in preschool at 2 and all sorts of sports and other activities by 5. The result is well-rounded, tired children who spend less and less time with their family. I was actually struggling a bit with this prior to conference and hearing Sister Beck’s talk as well as Elder Oaks’s talk. We pulled the kids out of gymnastics after 9 months of weekly lessons. Ani quit Irish dancing lessons for a few reasons. Cameron wanted to take golf lessons but then decided he’d rather just play golf for fun, no lessons needed. Ani is in Brownies and has activities just 2 or 3 times a month. In February she will start Achievement Days activities at church twice a month. Is it enough? Don’t they need more? The answer is yes, it’s enough. No, they don’t need more outside activities. What they need more of is time with their family. I blinked and Ani went from a toddler to about to be baptized. I’ll blink again and she’ll be in young women. Another blink and she’ll be getting married. This time is short and very precious. Instead of paying for these activities, we are putting that money toward going on family vacations at least once a year. I’m mostly doing just fine with this principle. And I am thankful for Sister Beck’s and Elder Oaks’s words and the confirmation that what we are doing is right for our family.

Mothers Who Know Stand Strong and Immovable
In the last couple years I have seen something happening to many of my friends who are LDS mothers that is upsetting to me and reminds me that I am not immune from the influence of Satan. If I let my guard down I could be the next to question my faith and waiver on what I know to be right. I must stick to my beliefs and in the process be an example to my children and teach them the important gospel truths, too, so they will one day also be strong and immovable. So far I think I’m doing a pretty good job with this one, but having seen other women fall, I know I must work to remain this way.

So there you have it. The main points in Sister Beck’s talk and my feelings on each of them. I’m far from perfect. I have work to do with most of these principles. I could choose to be offended and feel like she has accused me of being a poor housekeeper or choosing the computer over my kids sometimes and do nothing different. Or I could choose to be thankful for her words and work on the things I need to and make myself better and in the process make my children better. I choose the latter.