Monday, August 10, 2015

back to school jiggity, jig!

back to school lesson plans because i am now so old and wise:
 i like uniforms and i like plans. i own a million clothes but i wear the black, white and gray ones the most. cooking is a necessity that i don't dislike but i also don't enjoy enough. it's becomes akin to chinese torture if have to think about a new and creative meal every single night of the week. the same goes for trying to accomplish daily cleaning tasks. i just have a mental deficiency that doesn't allow me to stay on top of these things! it simply isn't my fault! scatterbrained awareness unite! i decided that in order to take the wailing and tears out of many tasks and because the school year is so hectic, i am implementing a week night themed meal plan, daily chore chart and weekly chore chart:
 souper monday
taco tuesday(naturally)
wrap/sammich wednesday
crackpot crockpot thursday
pizza friday
enchilada saturday
roast beast sunday

i don't care if we get sick of the same stuff, it's infinitely better than eating fast food garbage or copious amounts of corndogs all the time because i couldn't get my act together. plus, nearly identical shopping lists each week with a few changes here and there depending on type of soup, sammich, enchilada whatnot i feel like. plusplus, i can easily make a pound of garlic roasted vegetables in 20 minutes to accompany any meal. 

i'm not in love with the idea of paying children for chores because after childbearing and childbirth and countless diaper changes, i feel like they kinda owe me forever but i'm also not stupid and i realize incentives work. daily chores completed will earn them $2 a week and additional money jobs will earn them 25 cents a pop. i am predicting that the weekly average earned will be less than $3 earned. 

last night before thomas headed out of town, he gave the two big kids and myself a priesthood blessing. i think this is going to be a great year for us. even though i got suckered into being the room mom for scarlett's class because no one else signed up to help AT ALL. i also wanted to be the parent to avoid all class participation responsibility!

the kids were excited for today and nerves appeared to be at a minimum. i was the most excited because my school drop off will only take me 10 minutes instead of an hour!

scarlett styled her own outfit and requested a special high double twisty bun hairstyle for the first day. 

she specially requested a star wars messenger bag that i scoured amazon for and when it finally arrived, it was a messenger BACKPACK. who advertises a messenger bag and it's really a backpack! i was a mom on the edge! poor thing kept trying to wear it one shouldered. i may have to get creative with duct tape and an old seat belt and see what i can construct.

after i dropped off the kids i joined a new gym, worked out, ran a million errands with only two children and then collapsed in my bed for a 20 minute nap after i picked up the big kids. fun times when you are 35. 

Sunday, August 09, 2015

big summer blowout!

i suffer from delusions of grandeur. sometimes when i fall asleep at night i think, this is the week that it ALL is going to happen! crafts! blogging! homemade volcanoes and slime! sewing projects because i can't stop attempting to sew even though i hate it! and now it is the night before school starts and instead of doing a summer check in, i'm doing a summer recap. 

herschel is now 6 months old and DARLING. he's sweet as sugar and has such a patient disposition. eats 4-5 times a day and still sleeps 12 hours a night. 

this is our neighbor's princess towel and whenever our neighbor is at the pool too, she is wearing it and eating our snacks. i figure, their kids occasionally annoy me so if she's annoying them, we're even.

more nudity. athena blythe hasn't slept in a crib in almost 9 months. she is going through a really animated, "i'm a puppy dog phase!" that requires a lot of tail wagging and public floor crawling. this puppy also likes to be  in a cage or read about animals in cages. i found "corduroy gets a pet" at the liberry and it's a lift the flap book chock full of animals in cages. i should go ahead and order it from amazon. it's a daily read. 
Front Cover

this 0-3 month outfit finally fits. 

athena blythe has always loved herschel and never suffered from any fits of jealousy but she could NOT stand it that this teddy bear outfit didn't fit her. 

more self-sufficiency:

out with the old and in with the new! we finally replaced our old couches that we've had for many moons that were not designed for children or for sitting on. they are covered in mystery stains, snags and rips so they're perfectly broken in but also a little embarrassing. it's hard to invite people over and ask them to sit down and their seat has a spot on it that looks quite questionable. it could easily be as simple as a water mark, but i'm sure no one ever thinks that when they see them. we pushed the couches together and they have become kid's imagination heaven. they are usually a pirate ship, but they have also been a reading lounging zone, a dog cage, a camp site and a snoring spouse middle of the night refuge(I HAVE ALLERGIES!). i told the kids we could keep them through the summer and that's it because they are located near the front door. it makes our house look like hoarders live here, so their time is coming to a close.

the student becomes the master! athena blythe finally stopped fighting me and throwing her training potty overhead across the room and decided to finally go with the flow. 

i feel i have done at least some parts of summer correctly if we had a few incidences of "summer feet".

and marker faces. i convinced them into thinking this was almost like face painting. i always wanted a star around my eye like the misfits on jem and the holograms(a show that my mom wouldn't let me watch so i naturally tried to watch it without her knowing). 

thomas had his 39th barfday and he surprised us by dropping by the pool in work clothes on his way to a client meeting. being a lawyer is so fun. 
notice the EXACT same rounded cube head shape: 

i have a thing for blocky heads and dominant eyebrows:

Sunday, August 02, 2015

my favorite calling

since november of last year and for about a year while we still lived in simpsonville, my calling(or assigned responsibility) at church has been as the 4th sunday teaching for our times teacher. it's been one of my favorite callings ever. if i'm being honest, i'm a bit selfish because it allows me to attend relief society and sunday school and i can volunteer to fill in in primary but i also don't have to worry about most non-sabbath calling requirements besides preparing a lesson each month. the other reason it's my favorite is because i get to really ponder and learn. thinking deeply about spiritual things is a welcome respite from my regularly scheduled program.

The overarching lesson that i have learned is that EACH and EVERY lesson has had some sort of mention about our need to sustain our leaders and  follow the prophet and not have a a limited view of the Gospel. Once we start to think that Church leadership should be infallible, we start to become more critical of them and we start to have a spiritual downfall. the more i have studied the messages of the prophets, the more i have learned that there are many flaws in each of them but that they were always trying their best to please God. i know that there is a place for me in the gospel because i continually and without fail make mistakes but that the Lord still wants me here. His church is truly a place for imperfect people who are striving to do more. 

a short list of favorite talks i've prepared lessons from and a few fantastic quotes:

 "Lord, is it I?" by Dieter F. Utchdorf
(the lesson that has helped me the most) 

"I wonder what each of us would do if we were asked that question by the Savior. Would we look at those around us and say in our hearts, “He’s probably talking about Brother Johnson. I’ve always wondered about him,” or “I’m glad Brother Brown is here. He really needs to hear this message”? Or would we, like those disciples of old, look inward and ask that penetrating question: “Is it I?”
In these simple words, “Lord, is it I?” lies the beginning of wisdom and the pathway to personal conversion and lasting change.”

 "Come Join With Us" by president dieter f. utchdorf

“As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and as one who has seen firsthand the councils and workings of this Church, I bear solemn witness that no decision of significance affecting this Church or its members is ever made without earnestly seeking the inspiration, guidance, and approbation of our Eternal Father. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. God will not allow His Church to drift from its appointed course or fail to fulfill its divine destiny.”

Joseph Smith by elder neil andersen

i found this first quote from a friend on facebook and it really inspired me to immerse myself in study of the life of Joseph Smith. i started to read, Rough Stone Rolling, by richard lyman bushman, which i am still wading through, and i even got out my violin and practiced and learned a new arrangement of the song, "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" which i performed in relief society before my lesson. it was actually fun. being a stay at home mom, while infinitely important, sometimes results in my brain feeling less than elastic. reading something that required thought and working on music was a nice mental exercise

"I am suggesting that we can be simultaneously more confident, candid, and studious in our approach to Church history and more faithful, hopeful, and charitable, too. A study of Church history will help us avoid the myth of prophetic infallibility on the one hand and, on the other, help us view past leaders more charitably. Similarly, a careful study of Church history will keep us from portraying this or that question as “settled” when there is not apostolic unity on the particular topic, but we’ll also be better able to see what (or more properly, Who) stands at the center of our faith, this restored Church. And, significantly, we’ll find it difficult to seriously study Church history without a deepened sense of humility"- spencer fluhman

“Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is true for every generation. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.” -Elder Andersen

Loving others and living with differences by Dallin H. Oaks

“We are to live in the world but not be of the world. We must live in the world because, as Jesus taught in a parable, His kingdom is “like leaven,” whose function is to raise the whole mass by its influence (see Luke 13:21;Matthew 13:33; see also 1 Corinthians 5:6–8). His followers cannot do that if they associate only with those who share their beliefs and practices. But the Savior also taught that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.” (see John 14:15).

Marriage: Watch and Learn by L. Whitney Clayton
(probably my 2nd favorite lesson, worth multiple reads and rereads no matter if you're married or not)

 "Successful eternal marriages are built on the foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and adherence to His teachings. I have observed that couples who have made their marriages priceless practice the patterns of faith: they attend sacrament and other meetings every week, hold family home evening, pray and study the scriptures together and as individuals, and pay an honest tithing. Their mutual quest is to be obedient and good. They do not consider the commandments to be a buffet from which they can pick and choose only the most appealing offerings."

"Repentance. I have learned that happy marriages rely on the gift of repentance. It is an essential element in every good marital relationship. Spouses who regularly conduct honest self-examination and promptly take needed steps to repent and improve experience a healing balm in their marriages. Repentance helps restore and maintain harmony and peace."

           (heidi thoughts- Self-examination- does this involve any form of accusation? I’ve said some things that I’ve felt needed to be addressed, but I can say whole heartedly, that without spiritual reflection and honesty and kindness, I’m just nagging or picking fights.)

Stay in the boat and Hold On! by M. Russell Ballard

“President Brigham Young commonly employed “the Old Ship Zion” as a metaphor for The Church of Jesus Christof Latter-day Saints.
He said on one occasion: “We are in the midst of the ocean. A storm comes on, and, as sailors say, she labors very hard. ‘I am not going to stay here,’ says one; ‘I don’t believe this is the “Ship Zion.”’ ‘But we are in the midst of the ocean.’ ‘I don’t care, I am not going to stay here.’ Off goes the coat, and he jumps overboard. Will he not be drowned? Yes. So with those who leave this Church. It is the ‘Old Ship Zion,’ let us stay in it. On another occasion, President Young said that he also worried about people losing their way when they were being blessed—when life was good: “It is in calm weather, when the old ship of Zion is sailing with a gentle breeze, [and] when all is quiet on deck, that some of the brethren want to go out in the whaling boats to have … a swim, and some get drowned, others drifted away, and others again get back to the ship. Let us stick to the old ship and she will carry us [safely] into the harbor; you need not be concerned.”

The Parable of the Sower by Dallin H. Oaks

“Another potential destroyer of spiritual roots—accelerated by current technology but not unique to it—is the keyhole view of the gospel or the Church. This limited view focuses on a particular doctrine or practice or perceived deficiency in a leader and ignores the grand panorama of the gospel plan and the personal and communal fruits of its harvest. President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a vivid description of one aspect of this keyhole view. He told a BYU audience about political commentators “aflame with indignation” at a then-recent news event. “With studied art they poured out the sour vinegar of invective and anger. … Surely,” he concluded, “this is the age and place of the gifted pickle sucker.”1 In contrast, to be securely rooted in the gospel, we must be moderate and measured in criticism and seek always for the broader view of the majestic work of God.”