Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nurture your marriage

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"I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don't be a whiner."

Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Small and Simple Things (2003), 31.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Nursery Manual: Behold Your Little Ones

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I just discovered that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a new manual to be used in the nursery. The manual is geared toward teaching children ages 18 months to 3 years.



It is beautiful! I am so excited to use this resource in my family. It almost makes me want to be a nursery worker again.

You can view the manual and download the lessons here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"My main job is to parent"

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I recently discovered the Simple Mom blogger, and I am loving her. She thinks like I do, or actually, like I aspire to think. Many of her posts have really hit home with me and have inspired me to better: better mom, better wife, better organizer.

I read all about her Home Management Notebooks and have started my own. Isn't it a pretty green?


Here is a snapshot of my to-do list, which was embellished by the Ant Bug.


It feels great to have a functional to-do list again, but I do have to control myself to make sure that the list doesn't get out of hand. So this post by Simple Mom is a great reminder for me.

She says "My main job is to parent, not to get my to-do list done. Remind yourself today that there are more important things in life than getting things done."


Here are the most important things in my life. I hope they know that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Discipline with Love

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"Of course, there is need for discipline with families. But discipline with severity, discipline with cruelty, inevitably leads not to correction but rather to resentment and bitterness. It cures nothing and only aggravates the problem. It is self-defeating. The Lord, in setting forth the spirit of governance in His Church, has also set forth the spirit of governance in the home in these great words of revelation:

“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained … , only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; …

“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

“That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death” (D&C 121:41, 43–44).

Gordon B. Hinckley, “These, Our Little Ones,” Ensign, Dec 2007, 4–9.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Special Snuggly Blankets

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One tradition I have wanted to adopt for my children is their own special snuggly blanket. The only problem is that I am not much of a sewer, so taking on a project like sewing a quilt is a little bit daunting. Thankfully, when the Ant Bug was about 6 months old, my talented sister-in-law walked me through the process of making a baby quilt. Here is the finished product:


The Ant Bug has loved it, and she still sleeps with it every night. In her words, this is how she feels about her special blanket: "gdnbvcnvhvlffgfkkfjfmfmjff,jfmj,,gh,h';jj;h;h'h;j"H'j;j'hljkjkhgkjhjgkjgjghjhghjghjkhjhgyth;hg;h.lhglhlhlhlhlhlghl./
dnmbdndnmfnmfghfgbfhfjghjgjhmfggmgjjgghhjhjkgnmm;kklolhkhghkj"


Now that we live in Florida, I knew I was on my own to make a quilt for the B. Using the previous quilt as my pattern, and thanks to my good friend who loaned me her sewing machine, I was able to make a quilt. Now, I am really not a seamstress, and I wouldn't want anyone to look too closely at my stitches, but it turned out decently well.


And she seems to like it!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mama is having fun!

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N wide u McElman_071126_2031 T29 U, dancing R McElman_071026_2472_E m A M A

Have fun making your own here.

"Motherhood is near to divinity."

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"Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels."

First Presidency Statement in Conference Report, Oct 1942, 761.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On our bookshelf: Harold and the Purple Crayon

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Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

This is a great, imaginative book. Today we decided to experience the book on another level with our own purple crayon in hand.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Divine Institution of Marriage

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I recently received a link to an important article on the LDS Church News site regarding the sanctity of marriage. This November, voters in Florida, Arizona and California will have the opportunity to vote for a constitutional amendment protecting marriage. I urge you to become informed and take a stand on this significant issue. As the article states, "traditional marriage is essential to society as a whole, and especially to its children".

You can start by reading the article: The Divine Institution of Marriage

The article illustrates very clearly why marriage between a man and a woman should be preserved and protected. The primary purpose of marriage is to nurture children and teach them to be responsible, moral adults. "Extensive studies have shown that in general a husband and wife united in a loving, committed marriage provide the optimal environment for children to be protected, nurtured, and raised."

The article concludes with the following:

"Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of civilized society. When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identity as a man or a woman. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise yet another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has chosen to become involved, along with many other churches, organizations, and individuals, in defending the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion and to the future of our society.

"The final line in the Proclamation on the Family is an admonition to the world from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” This is the course charted by Church leaders, and it is the only course of safety for the Church and for the nation."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Too pure, too lovely"

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Today I attended the funeral of an almost two-year old boy, the son of some good friends in our ward. My heart has been feeling sadness for the family ever since I heard the news. But attending the funeral was a spiritually uplifting experience for me. Both parents spoke, and their remarks were full of love and faith and eternal truths. One quote that the dad shared really stood out to me:

"We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting. The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these: This world is a very wicked world; and it...grows more wicked and corrupt...The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again...

"...The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope."

Smith, Joseph. (2007). Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 176.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rush less and live in the moment

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When the BYU School of Family Life was created, September 10, 1998, President Boyd K. Packer called for BYU faculty to produce textbooks and courses on family life that would: (1) be worthy of a great university (rigorous, excellent, challenging); (2) be filled with moral and spiritual truths in full harmony with the restored gospel; (3) help students be good spouses and parents.

As a student at BYU, one of my required classes was Family Life 100. This book was the textbook for my class.

Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family, edited by David C. Dollahite

"This compilation of essays by more than 80 respected LDS theologians, sociologists, and thinkers across many disciplines explores the Proclamation in depth, illuminating its rich doctrine and key principles. The book also offers hundreds of practical tips for strengthening marriage and family relationships, guiding children, and helping families in challenging circumstances."

This book has often given me something to think about. Check this out.

"In modern society we experience an accelerated sense of time in family life that can leave family members, especially children, feeling like a cog in some time machine rather than a loved individual. In a recent representative national survey, 44% of children reported that their time with their mother was rushed, and feeling rushed was related to children's negative feelings about their mothers. Children's time is not the same as adults' time; their pace is slower and less structured" (p. 71).

I'm a little chagrined to realize how much of my daily vocabulary is comprised of phrases like this: "Fast, fast" and "Quick, quick" and "Get in the car right NOW". Do we really need to be in such hurry all the time? I don't want my children to look back on their childhood and have feelings of rushing and rushing be the dominant memory.

Author Anna Quindlen offers a compelling reminder: "The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make...I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. and I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and getting it done a little less" (Loud and Clear [2004], 10-11).

The next time I find myselt thinking "hurry, let's get in the car and go", I hope I'll stop and take the opportunity to examine the tree branch or the pine cone my daughter offers for my inspection.

And I'll hug my children close and show them how much I love them. Time is precious, and so are my children.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nurture the sons and daughters of God.

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"To you wives and mothers who work to maintain stable homes where there is an environment of love and respect and appreciation I say, the Lord bless you. Regardless of your circumstances, walk with faith. Rear your children in light and truth. Teach them to pray while they are young. Read to them from the scriptures even though they may not understand all that you read. Teach them to pay their tithes and offerings on the first money they ever receive. Let this practice become a habit in their lives. Teach your sons to honor womanhood. Teach your daughters to walk in virtue. Accept responsibility in the Church, and trust in the Lord to make you equal to any call you may receive. Your example will set a pattern for your children. Reach out in love to those in distress and need.

"I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well.

"Set an example for them. That will mean more than all the teaching you can give them. Do not overindulge them. Let them grow up with respect for and understanding of the meaning of labor, of working and contributing to the home and its surroundings, with some way of earning some of their own expense money. Let your sons save for missions, and encourage them to prepare themselves, not only financially, but spiritually and in an attitude to go out to serve the Lord without selfishness of any kind. I do not hesitate to promise that if you will do so, you will have reason to count your blessings.

"May the Lord bless you, my beloved sisters. You are the guardians of the hearth. You are the bearers of the children. You are they who nurture them and establish within them the habits of their lives. No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God.

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 98

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Snakes

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Ant Bug: "What if we had a real snake in our house?"

Nurture Mama: "Hmmm. I don't know. What would we do?"

Ant Bug: " We would have to get a new house. The snake could have this one."

Wouldn't it be nice if the answers to all of life's questions were so obvious!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A "Mother Heart"

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"What is a mother heart and how is one acquired? We learn about some of those qualities in the scriptures. To paraphrase Proverbs: “Who can find a … woman [with a mother heart]? for her price is far above rubies. … She … worketh willingly with her hands. … With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. … She stretcheth out her hand to the poor. … Strength and honour are her clothing. … She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness” (Prov. 31:10, 13, 16, 20, 25–27). A woman with a mother heart has a testimony of the restored gospel, and she teaches the principles of the gospel without equivocation. She is keeping sacred covenants made in holy temples. Her talents and skills are shared unselfishly. She gains as much education as her circumstances will allow, improving her mind and spirit with the desire to teach what she learns to the generations who follow her.

"If she has children, she is a “goodly parent” (1 Ne. 1:1) who lives and teaches standards of behavior exactly in line with the teachings of living prophets. She teaches her “children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28). Rather than listening to the voices and partial truths of the world, she knows that gospel standards are based on eternal, unchangeable truths. She believes that to be “primarily responsible for the nurture of [her] children” is a vital, dignified, and “sacred responsibilit[y]” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 1998, 24; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). To nurture and feed them physically is as much an honor as to nurture and feed them spiritually. She is “not weary in well-doing” and delights to serve her family, because she knows that “out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).

"I was recently at a park where I met a group of women with mother hearts. They were young, covenant-keeping women. They were bright and had obtained advanced degrees from respected universities. Now they were devoting their considerable gifts to planning dinner that evening and sharing housekeeping ideas. They were teaching two-year-olds to be kind to one another. They were soothing babies, kissing bruised knees, and wiping tears. I asked one of those mothers how it came about that she could transfer her talents so cheerfully into the role of motherhood. She replied, “I know who I am, and I know what I am supposed to do. The rest just follows.” That young mother will build faith and character in the next generation one family prayer at a time, one scripture study session, one book read aloud, one song, one family meal after another. She is involved in a great work. She knows that “children are an heritage of the Lord” and “happy is the [woman] that hath [a] quiver full of them” (Ps. 127:3, 5). She knows that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. She has the vision that, if worthy, she has the potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60)."

Julie B. Beck, “A ‘Mother Heart’,” Ensign, May 2004, 75

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sometimes Mama just needs a little break

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Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer.

Yes, I am reading it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

On our bookshelf: Mo Willems

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The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, by Mo Willems
This is the latest installment in the story of the Pigeon. We were introduced to the Pigeon books at a library story time and we have loved every one.

Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus!

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!

And Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!

Don't be afraid to branch out from the Pigeon. Mo's other books are definitely worthy of a spot on the bookshelf.



After you've read the books, you can check out his website for some fun games for the kids.

The New York Times Book Review called Mo "the biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the 00's." So if you haven't read them yet, what are you waiting for?
 

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