Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Baby Tommy

Baby Tommy was born on September 18th at 2:13 am. He was a week overdue, but made up for it by having a two hour labor from start to finish. He weighed 8 lbs 15 oz and is 21". His spirit is so gentle and all he wants to do is cuddle. I got the distinct impression holding him the first day that he was capable of great amounts of love and compassion, and that I was responsible for nurturing in him a love for his fellow man and a desire to serve.

It's amazing what babies remind us of. The great potential that is born into all of us and our great responsibilities as parents.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Ordain Women Movement and why I don't care whether or not you're a part of it.

I've seen a lot of different posts about the "Ordain Women" movement within the church lately. Posts on both sides of the fence. They're all about why they are or aren't joining the movement. And so whether you're for or against, we all have something in common. It's something most of us have thought about.

Because let's be honest, we are all at different places in our "faith journeys" if you want to call it that. We all will/have come across something in the gospel or the church that we have to make peace with. For some it is women and the priesthood, for others it may be church history, blacks and the priesthood, homosexuality, tithing, word of wisdom, whatever. We all have different challenges, hang-ups, questions.

But here's the other thing. We all have access to prayer, fasting, the Holy Ghost and personal revelation. Does that mean our personal revelation on these topics should be new church-wide doctrine? No. But it does mean that the Lord cares enough about us to help us find peace.

And the most important way He does this is through the Atonement.

And honestly, that's the only thing I care about.

Do you wear pants to church, want to attend the Priesthood session of General Conference and hope that one day women will be bishops too? Okay. Do you believe in a loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and in the power of grace and the Atonement? Great! There's room for you here.

Do you not give a whiff about holding the Priesthood and don't understand what the big deal is? Okay. Can you help others find the peace that the Atonement brings, lift burdens and strengthen faith? Wonderful! There's room for you here.

Are you a fence sitter who thinks certain things wouldn't hurt to change and other issues with the priesthood you're mostly ambivalent about? Okay.  Do you have faith that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know you personally and love you? Perfect! There's room for you here.

Because that's the thing about the gospel. It's all about the Atonement. In fact, it was Joseph Smith who said that everything else in the gospel is simply an appendage to the Atonement.

Are these things still "important"? Yes.
Does it make me sad when women leave the church over the priesthood? Yes. It makes me sad whenever anyone leaves the church. Not because I think they are terrible people, but because I wish they could have the joy and peace that I have in the gospel, and it makes my heartache when they don't find it here.

But to everyone out there who feels like they don't have perfectly "orthodox" views about certain gospel principles. I can tell you from talking to a lot of people, that most of us have a few thoughts about one thing or another that someone else will say are "unorthodox". We each make our own peace. We each have our own questions. Our testimonies are unique, special, personal.

And there is room for all of us.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

After Two Months of Preschool at Home

I have been doing preschool at home for more than two months now. I haven't been good at writing down my lesson plans here, and probably won't be. But you can always check out my pinterest page if you need ideas.

There have been things I have learned and little triumphs. I just want to write them down here.

1. Kids love to learn! They love it.

     Exhibit A: My kids ask every day, "Is it circle time yet?" or if I am taking too long getting around to it, "Mom! Let's do circle time!"
     Exhibit B: We are learning about butterflies this week. On Tuesday, Jane came to me complaining that we had learned about caterpillars but she still didn't know how a caterpillar turned into a butterfly.
     Exhibit C:  Today both kids requested (several times) that next week we learn about sea horses. I was personally hoping to do a week just on insects, but you know what? Seahorses sounds good too.

2. It is possible to keep learning, even from preschool.

      Last week we learned about spiders. I can't tell you how much I personally learned that I wouldn't have otherwise. For instance, do you know HOW spiders make their silk? I do...now. Did you know they eat their silk? I didn't. Do you know the names of a spider's body parts? I'd forgotten. How about the Bolas spider? Crab spider? Trap-door spider? Have you forgotten how cool they are? I remember now, and it was fun to see my kids get excited about it too.

3.  The world really is our classroom. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes.

    We took a week or two off from a really focused homeschool. We still did some circle time and reading and art projects, but we had family visiting and were in the mountains so it was spotty. But we still got to talk to the kids about Redwoods, and fire, and animals, and caterpillars, and birds, and California, and a whole bunch of other stuff. The learning didn't stop, we were just more aware to show our kids things when we went out on our walks. We talked with them more and helped show them just how awesome the world really is. And in turn, it became more awesome to me as well.
    Just last week we went hunting for spiders. And when I was really looking for them, I found them. Not just found them, but I found them catching and eating insects. I found their eggsacks. It was totally cool!

4.   Loosey-Goosey is okay.
    I started off planning out every day a week in advance. Now I just plan out the subject, gather my materials, and then go with the flow. We still hit everything. But on hard days we might do more art projects, or book reading. On more focused days we can get to those lapbooks. Flexibility is so nice!

5.   Lapbooks! Lapbooks! and more Lapboks!
       I didn't know what these were until I started looking at more homeschool websites. But they are a great way for me to make sure I cover certain topics with the kids, keep a record of it, and review it with them. We add to our lapbook for the week every day. Then when Rob comes home, the kids read what we put in there both the old and the new. It is a great way to reinforce concepts. The kids are proud of their work. And we can pull them out a week or two from now and review. Awesome!

6.   Kids love spending time with their parents.
      I know. I know. This is a no-brainer. But I think one of the biggest reasons my kids love preschool is that it is guaranteed focused time with me. And because its intentional, it actually happens and I don't end up distracted at the end of the day wondering if I spent any time with the kids. Some days are still hard. And there is still sometimes yelling. But I feel a strengthened bond. I feel like I am better able to understand and relate with my kids. I've noticed things about them that I hadn't before. I love that.

7.     My kids are learning.
      When we started 2 months ago, neither one of my kids was very good at number recognition. Today I realized that they both recognize and can count 1-10. We are working on 11-20, but still. Progress! Two months ago lowercase letters were hopeless. They aren't 100% yet, but we are closer. Progress! On top of that, Jane has blossomed into this artist. She mixes her mediums, creates all sorts of things. She's started mixing colors when she paints. She tries all sorts of techniques. It's amazing!

Learning is amazing.
Kids are amazing.
Being a part of it is amazing.