Monday, September 29, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Pray with Your Children

This is part four of my ongoing feature of President Benson's address to mothers.

Pray with Your Children. Fourth, take time to pray with your children. Family prayers, under the direction of the father, should be held morning and night. Have your children feel of your faith as you call down the blessings of heaven upon them. Paraphrasing the words of James, “The … fervent prayer of a righteous [mother] availeth much” (James 5:16). Have your children participate in family and personal prayers, and rejoice in their sweet utterances to their Father in Heaven.

Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, address given at a fireside for parents, 22 February 1987.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hair, Hair, Hair

One of my favorite blogs to visit is She Does Hair. Blackeyedsue has wonderful ideas for styling girls hair. I've been having fun in the last few months experimenting with the Ant Bug's hair.

The first one we tried was the Puffy Braid.

One of our favorite styles is Smocking. Here is one variation that we tried.

Last Sunday we went with the Loop-de-loop. Sorry about the less than great pictures, but that's what we have.

This morning before Joy School we had a few extra minutes for hair, so the Ant Bug ended up with Lattice Ponytails. Unfortunately, she ran out the door before I took a picture, so I'll try to get one this afternoon and post it later.

Of course, the B always looks adorable with her Antennae Style bug ponytails.

Luckily, the Ant Bug is usually pretty patient with my styling endeavors. She does have her days of simple one or two ponytails on top, or just down with a clip. Next up I'm going to start experimenting with Knots.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Read to Your Children

This is part three of my ongoing feature of President Benson's address to mothers.

Read to Your Children. Third, mothers, take time to read to your children. Starting from the cradle, read to your sons and daughters. Remember what the poet said:

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be—
I had a mother who read to me.
(Strickland Gillilan, “The Reading Mother.”)

You will plant a love for good literature and a real love for the scriptures if you will read to your children regularly."

Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, address given at a fireside for parents, 22 February 1987.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Be a Real Friend

This is part two of my ongoing feature of President Benson's address to mothers.

"Be a Real Friend.
Second, mothers, take time to be a real friend to your children. Listen to your children, really listen. Talk with them, laugh and joke with them, sing with them, play with them, cry with them, hug them, honestly praise them. Yes, regularly spend unrushed one-on-one time with each child. Be a real friend to your children."

Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, address given at a fireside for parents, 22 February 1987.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I have to admit that I really love Mondays.

It's true.

In the last few months as we have adjusted to the sweet addition to our family, my life has fallen into a nice rhythm where Monday's usually turn out great. Here's why:

Monday is my "recover from the weekend and put the house back in order and clean the house as much as possible" day. I don't know about you, but after a Saturday and a Sunday where we break from our daily routine, my house is usually a disaster that needs some serious recovery. To ensure this recovery, I plan to stay home on Monday. Wherever possible I avoid scheduling appointments or play dates or any place I have to be.

Monday is my laundry day. I don't have a set day for washing whites or colors (I just wash them as needed), but I always know that on Mondays I am washing sheets and towels and dishrags--basically all of my linens. I get started right after breakfast. I wash the sheets first so I can get them back on the beds before the day is too late. I always just put the same set of sheets back on the beds, because I detest folding fitted sheets (mine always end up in an awkward, lumpy, somewhat resemblance of a square).

I'm not one of those women who clean house after the children are in bed, minimizing interruptions. Minimizing interruptions might would be nice, but kid sleep time equals my time, and I don't want to spend it cleaning. The one exception to this is mopping my tile floor--I don't try to do that with a crawling baby in the room, since the poor B slips and slides all over the wet floor. Consequently, I clean during the daytime and the Ant Bug cleans with me. Or, she dances and sings and runs circles around me while I clean. But that is fine with me. For some reason, Monday's are magical because her patience for cleaning on that day is much greater than any other day of the week. Maybe it's because she loves routine as much as I do and is happy to be at home and doing normal things after our sometimes irregular weekend?

The B usually does her part by napping extra long after a fatiguing Sunday at church with missed naps. Today she napped a total of over three and a half hours!

So what did we get done today? 2 loads of laundry, vacuumed downstairs and up, made two loaves of Friendship bread, put toys and clothes and papers in their place, and made a quick trip to the store. The Ant Bug and I even had time to do some building with Jenga blocks and made some paper farm tools for the "pretend Farmer Brown and Mrs. Farmer Brown". She was very diligent in feeding and watering the pretend cow and horse and pig and duck.

The girls and I usually do end up leaving the house at some point, usually just a quick trip to the store or a walk around the neighborhood, because who likes to be cooped up inside all day?

And then after dinner we spend time as a family in Family Home Evening. With young children, our lessons are pretty brief. Tonight we used this activity from The Friend, and were surprised at how many animals are mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

At the end of the day, I curl up in my comfy bed with clean smelling sheets. That's where I'm headed right now.

Happy Monday to you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Be at the Crossroads

In 1987, President Benson gave a wonderful address entitled To the Mothers in Zion. In his talk he offers ten ways that mothers may spend effective time with their children. I think this talk is so good that I'm tempted to include the whole talk on this blog.

But rather than throwing you the entire talk at once, I will be offering it a snippet at a time. I don't know about you, but I know I learn better one step at a time. So for the next little while, I will be featuring the wise words of President Benson. Here is the first installment:

"Mothers in Zion, your God-given roles are so vital to your own exaltation and to the salvation and exaltation of your family. A child needs a mother more than all the things money can buy. Spending time with your children is the greatest gift of all.

"With love in my heart for the mothers in Zion, I would now like to suggest ten specific ways our mothers may spend effective time with their children.

"Be at the Crossroads. First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going—when they leave and return from school, when they leave and return from dates, when they bring friends home. Be there at the crossroads whether your children are six or sixteen. In Proverbs we read, “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Among the greatest concerns in our society are the millions of latchkey children who come home daily to empty houses, unsupervised by working parents."

Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, address given at a fireside for parents, 22 February 1987.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Best Ever

A slice of our dinner conversation at our home last night.

Ant Bug: "Dad, you're the best dad ever. And mom, you're the best mom ever."

It was a nice moment. Parenting does have its rewards!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mothering by correct principles

"When, as mothers, you are consistently in the home, at least during the hours the children are predominantly there, you can detect the individual needs of each child and provide ways to satisfy them. Your divinely given instincts help sense a child’s special talents and unique capacities so that you can nurture and strengthen them.

"What enduring fruits will result from seeds of truth you carefully plant and thoughtfully cultivate in the fertile soil of your child’s trusting mind and heart?

"As a mother or father, are you in trouble because the pressures of the world lead you from effectively fulfilling your divine role? Is your life unconsciously fueled with the burning desire for more things that could compromise eternal relationships and the molding of a child’s developing character? You must be willing to forgo personal pleasure and self-interest for family-centered activity, and not turn over to church, school, or society the principal role of fostering a child’s well-rounded development. It takes time, great effort, and significant personal sacrifice to “train up a child in the way he should go.” But where can you find greater rewards for a job well done?

"You may not have the blessing of being raised in an understanding family, yet your use of correct principles will mold, strengthen, and give purpose to your lives.

"Joseph Smith’s inspired statement, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves,” still applies. (Quoted by John Taylor, in Millennial Star, 15 Nov. 1851, p. 339.) The Lord uses that pattern with us. You will find correct principles in the teachings of the Savior, His prophets, and the scriptures—especially the Book of Mormon. While easy to find, true principles are not easy to live until they become an established pattern of life. They will require you to dislodge false ideas. They can cause you wrenching battles within the secret chambers of your heart and decisive encounters to overcome temptation, peer pressure, and the false allure of the “easy way out.” Yet, as you resolutely follow correct principles, you will forge strength of character available to you in times of urgent need. Your consistent adherence to principle overcomes the alluring yet false life-styles that surround you. Your faithful compliance to correct principles will generate criticism and ridicule from others, yet the results are so eternally worthwhile that they warrant your every sacrifice.

"Now, the most important principle I can share: Anchor your life in Jesus Christ, your Redeemer. Make your Eternal Father and his Beloved Son the most important priority in your life—more important than life itself, more important than a beloved companion or children or anyone on earth. Make their will your central desire. Then all that you need for happiness will come to you."

Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Correct Principles,” Ensign, May 1993, 32

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On our bookshelf: Fancy Nancy

Fancy Nancy, by Jane O'Connor, Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Nancy is a little girl who loves everything fancy: feather boas, high heels, words like exquisite and exceptional, and of course, anything spoken in French. Her life's lessons come from a family who is not as outwardly fancy as herself, but she learns that "I love you" is fancy in itself.

Fancy Nancy, Bonjour Butterfly

Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy

If you have little girls in your home, then Fancy Nancy is a must read. The Ant Bug and I have enjoyed each of these delightful stories.

Here she is one afternoon, dressed to the nines like Fancy Nancy, complete with her own posh puppy.

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