Thursday, October 30, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Do Things as a Family

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

Do Things as a Family. Eighth, take time to do things together as a family. Make family outings and picnics and birthday celebrations and trips special times and memory builders. Whenever possible, attend, as a family, events where one of the family members is involved, such as a school play, a ball game, a talk, a recital. Attend church meetings together and sit together as a family when you can. Mothers who help families pray and play together will stay together and will bless children’s lives forever.

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ghosts in the House

Are you ready for Halloween?
While Halloween is not at the top of my list when it comes to favorite holidays, I've been getting in to the spirit of things a little more now that I have a child old enough to be interested in the occasion.

The Ant Bug and I spent the afternoon making these cute Paper Ghost Garlands.

We used wax paper (instead of the recommended butcher paper) which provided a very "ghost-like" appearance. She had a good time drawing the faces, but eventually decided that the ghosts were better on their own, instead of part of a line. Our living and dining area is now looking sufficiently spooky with paper ghosts taped all over the walls.

And while we're on the subject of Halloween, a fitting book for the fall season that we have been enjoying is Too Many Pumpkins, by Linda White.

What would you do with too many pumpkins? Make pumpkin pie, of course!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Read Scriptures Daily

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

Read Scriptures Daily. Seventh, take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family. Individual scripture reading is important, but family scripture reading is vital. Reading the Book of Mormon together as a family will especially bring increased spirituality into your home and will give both parents and children the power to resist temptation and to have the Holy Ghost as their constant companion. I promise you that the Book of Mormon will change the lives of your family.

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

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On sleeping

There never was a
Child so lovely but his
Mother was glad to see him asleep.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since the birth of my first child, sleep is something I have spent a lot of time thinking about. Sleep for my babies. Sleep for my toddler. Sleep for the child who thinks she is a big girl. And sleep for the tired mama.

Looking back, I sure wish I knew in those early days what I know now. The knowledge that you can put a baby in bed while she is still awake somehow escaped me in my first months of being a mother. I thought babies had to be held and rocked to sleep. Consequently, my baby and myself were set up for a rough sleeping situation, and many months of brief 30 minute naps.

I have read quite a few parenting books on the subject of sleep, and found some helpful tidbits of information in all of them (like The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, or Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg). But the most helpful book by far has been Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.

Dr. Weissbluth's book is very thorough. Beginning with a discussion of healthy sleep and its importance, he covers sleep problems and solutions from birth all the way through to adolescence. While I haven't followed his instructions religiously, I keep it handy on my bookshelf and find myself referring to it every few months.

A year ago, the Ant Bug was protesting the arrival of her baby sister by refusing to stay in her room at bedtime. Dr. Weissbluth's solution was to establish a set of sleep rules. The Ant Bug and I decorated a poster (we made a big deal out of it with color and stickers) and wrote down the sleep rules:
At bedtime we...
1. Stay in bed.
2. Close our eyes.
3. Stay very quiet.
4. Go to sleep.

With the right amount of motivation (yes, we did provide candy), she learned to stay in her bed and go to sleep. The poster is still on the wall for those occasions when she wants to test the limits, but now we have a plan that works.

The book has been a great coach for flowing with the changing sleep needs of the B. Everytime sleep has become an issue with her, I've found the exact problem and solution described in the book. I guess she must be a textbook baby. Recently we've been struggling a bit as she is making the transition from two naps a day down to one. On Sunday I opened the book and found a plan to get us through the transition time when one nap is not enough and two are nearly impossible. This week has been much better.

I also have to give a little link love to The Lazy Organizer. She posted her sleep plan in great detail, and it looks like a good one to me. Next time around, I'll be incorporating some of her ideas into my sleep plan.

Will there ever be a full night of sleep without interruptions? Probably only in my dreams. But in the meantime, why don't we all just take a nap at the computer?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Be Together at Mealtimes

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

"Be Together at Mealtimes. Sixth, take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible. This is a challenge as the children get older and lives get busier. But happy conversation, sharing of the day’s plans and activities, and special teaching moments occur at mealtime because mothers and fathers and children work at it."

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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Birthday B

Happy First Birthday!

"The important thing
about being One
is that life
has just begun.

You can't quite talk.
You can't quite walk.
You've found your nose
and discovered your toes.
You've seen the moon and felt the sun.

But the most important thing about being One is that life has just begun."

Taken from Another Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Organize myself and establish my house

I just got home from a wonderful stake conference. The focus of the meeting was on strengthening families, and I was touched by many of the messages shared. I'll be sharing some of the things I learned in future posts. But the part that stood out to me the most, the lesson that I feel the Spirit most wanted me to learn today, came in the form of a scripture:

"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;"

Doctrine and Covenants 88:119

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fleeting Moments

The B will be a year old in just a few days. She is sweet and soft and squishy. But I'm feeling a little nostalgic for the teeny baby days.

Quoting the wise words from The Fiddler on the Roof:

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

The other day the B and I sat on the floor trying on hand-me-down shoes from the Ant Bug. She isn't walking yet, so we haven't bothered with shoes before. As we finished our task and our attention was turned elsewhere for a few moments, I watched her crawl over to the shoes, pick one up, and hold it to her foot. I had to smile--she learns so quickly. The journey through childhood is amazing, and I am happy to catch the sweet moments.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Find Joy in the Journey--Now!

"If you have children who are grown and gone, in all likelihood you have occasionally felt pangs of loss and the recognition that you didn’t appreciate that time of life as much as you should have. Of course, there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future.

"If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly."

Thomas S. Monson, Finding Joy in the Journey, address given at the 178th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5 October 2008.

"The trick is to enjoy it. Don’t wish away your days of caring for young children. This is your great day. Sometimes we get so caught up in the physical work and trivia that we forget the big picture. We forget whose children they really are. When the house is filled with children, noise and teasing and laughter you get the feeling this is forever. Before you know it they will be gone."

"We have a great responsibility to our children. Find joy in them. Don’t overschedule them or yourself. You may not be able to take them on exotic vacations. It doesn’t matter. When the day dawns bright and sunny, take an excursion to the canyon or park. When it’s cloudy and wet, read a book together or make something good to eat. Give them time to explore and learn about the feel of grass and wiggliness of worms."

Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, ed. Virginia H. Pearce (1999), 61 and 75.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Paper dolls

This was our art project for the other day.

My friend posted these cute paper dolls on her blog, so the Ant Bug and I gave it a try. She asked me to do the cutting, but she did the gluing and the decorating. I love the lopsided eyes and smiles. You can make your own using this pattern.

The Ant Bug made the following comment while playing with dolls in her bedroom:

"Mom, it's great having you in our family."

Oh, how I love my family!

Monday, October 6, 2008

To the Mothers in Zion: Have Weekly Home Evenings

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

Have Weekly Home Evenings. Fifth, take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. With your husband presiding, participate in a spiritual and an uplifting home evening each week. Have your children actively involved. Teach them correct principles. Make this one of your great family traditions. Remember the marvelous promise made by President Joseph F. Smith when home evenings were first introduced to the Church: “If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them” (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [1965–75], 4:339). This wonderful promise is still in effect today.

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

Saturday, October 4, 2008

General Conference Activity Packets

Our family is enjoying General Conference this weekend. What a blessing it is to be able to hear the inspired words of a living prophet and living apostles.

To keep things a little more calm and focused on Conference and things of the Spirit, I put together a packet of activities for the Ant Bug to do during the sessions. Thanks to, I had a wealth of resources available to select from. is the LDS woman's dream website (especially if you have children or a calling in the Primary or Nursery or Young Women or Enrichment Committee or...). Basically it is an online file folder of any kind of helpful LDS resource you can imagine, with countless contributors. You can find me visiting the site every few days.

If you're looking for General Conference packets and resources to use with your children, I saw somewhere around 9 or 10 different links posted in the last two weeks. Just start working your way down the list on the first page and you'll find them.

My favorites are the Apostle Cards, and the General Conference Coloring Book. The Ultimate General Conference Packet looks excellent also, but some of the activities are a little beyond the reach of my nearly four year old. But the Friend Coloring Book will be making an appearance in our home on a Sabbath day soon to come.

To all the wonderful contributors on, thanks so much for sharing your work and ideas with us!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Looking for a good book?

I love to read books with my children. Our bedtime routine always includes at least one story, sometimes three. Some of our recent book favorites I have shared here. We make regular trips to the library (every 1-2 weeks), and I am constantly on the lookout for great new books to share with my daughters.

One of the tools I have been using lately to find good books is the Read Aloud America Book List. The list makes it easy to find great books appropriate at every age level. One recommendation we enjoyed was Giraffes Can't Dance, by Giles Andreae.

You can also find some great reads among the Caldecott Medal Winners and Honor Books. An oldie but goodie is Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey. It won the award in 1942, and is a favorite on our library check out list.

So, what childrens books are you reading?

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