Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day

Mothers Day always brings up such emotion in me. This year is no exception. When looking inward, I still remember the days before I was a "mother" when I so desperately wanted to be a mother. One Mother's Day in particular, I remember coming home from church and just crying and crying. How unfair it feels sometimes when our life isn't working out just the way we thought it should. Thank goodness Heavenly Father gave me this experience, this deep desire (even though at the time it just felt awful and lonely and even a little hopeless). When I was a young(er) single girl, I knew I wanted a family, but never had that same yearning. I mostly thought of it as far in the future when I had accomplished a gillion other things. After my miscarriage and subsequent struggles to bring a baby here, that desire deepened and deepened within me until I wanted that little baby here more than almost anything. Thank Heaven!
      After having Ike and now Zachary, I know that there truly is no better calling, commitment, job or joy we can have than being a mother. I know the Lord instituted motherhood and family. I know no task or responsibility will ever be as important as being a mother. I love it, even when I question my ability or the responsibility I've been given, I know THIS is where Heavenly Father wants me right now.
      Secondly, I have had a chance today (thanks Ben) to ponder the other women in my life and their examples of motherhood. I look at a dear friend and family member of mine that Heavenly Father called home this year. Let me back up. Last night I was feeling a little down. About lots of things. I was thinking how inadequate I am, how underappreciated I felt and how guilty I felt for feeling underappreciated. All unfounded, I was pretty much just really tired. As I prayed last night, I asked to please be helped in putting my life back into focus. I didn't want to feel that way and I usually don't, but in those quiet, strange moments, it is an awful feeling. Anyway, last night I had a dream about this wonderful mother who we lost this year. I awoke this morning thinking of her, her suffering, and how I could help her family. She was such a selfless mother, even in the end when she was so full of pain and suffering, she never let her son know. She waited until the very end for him to even know she was going to the hospital for treatments while he was at school. She never used her fast moving, life threatening illness as an excuse, she lived for her family and showed ultimate love and sacrifice for them. I love her and am glad to have known her shining example.
      I also thought of another family member who just had a new baby. She is young and beautiful and starting a darling little family with her husband. They found out at 20 weeks gestation that their baby had a chromosomal defect that would cause her a very short lived little life once outside the womb. They have shown such faith and courage. She writes of the joy she has felt knowing this little girl inside of her and knowing that our Father in Heaven has a plan for them. They have welcomed this little girl with triumph and such joy as I've never seen. This little angel baby is still going strong and I know that this miracle is possible because of their unwavering faith. I love them and am so grateful to have such a wonderful example of faith, love, and courage.
     My third mother this year is not a mother as you might think. She is a young, beautiful, single woman I have known for a decade. She shows my kids so much love and support. She is a wonderful example to them and all the children in her life of loyalty, service and love. She shows care and concern for them and for all of us in a way no one else does:) I think all women are mothers in one way or another and this woman excels at it.
     You can see why I sometimes feel inadequate when I know such amazing women all around me, but right now all I feel is true love for each of them and honor in knowing them personally. I love our Father in Heaven. How inspired He is to give us each other to help us and inspire us. Please know today I am thinking of each of you. Thank you for being mothers and helping me to be a little better too.

Monday, May 2, 2011

9/11/01 The Day I Grew Up

I want to say I have no "personal attachment" to September 11th. BUT, as an American, don't we ALL have a personal attachment to that day. Lets face it... we ALL know where we were when we heard the news and we ALL spent that night praying, worrying and wondering how our lives would change. I happened to be 19 and in college. As your typical 19 year old, I was in college studying idealistic theories and abstract thoughts. The world was at my feet. I could do and be anything I put my mind to, those were ideals that formed my generation, right?  September 11th changed that for me. Osama bin Laden changed my world, just as he did yours. I guess it never really occurred to me until today.
       September 12th I looked at the world differently. Grief, death, tragedy, loss, change, and war became a part of my life and everyone around me. I started caring and studying outside of myself and the abstract figures and theories of far away as perhaps never before. I'm not sure any singular day, any event has shaped my world as much as that. I'm not saying from that time on, I never had a juvenile thought or action, but as of September 11, 2001, I knew and appreciated so much more than ever before.  And, I knew how blessed I was (and am) to be an American and exactly what that meant. God Bless America.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thank You Dr. Seuss!

You have to admit, the post holiday, end of February "blehs" did set in for a little bit... I know I'm skipping ahead, but we have just loved doing Dr. Seuss theme at preschool a few weeks ago, so I thought I would anyway! It truly gave me a new spark to start off March:) First of all, there is SO MUCH to do surrounding Dr. Seuss books. I could've gone on for weeks and weeks! I just chose a few more "common" books, and then Ike and I did even more on the other days without preschool kids (I told you, we LOVED it)! I actually found lots of great ideas on, and a variety of momma bloggers like myself (ok, way better than me...) and then of course, gave things my own little twist:) Apparently, I was really terrible at taking pictures b/c we were soo busy having fun, but at least you get the idea... Anyway here are some highlights from Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Foot Book...

1. The Foot Book... We did a study of our own feet. We charted our foot size compared to our friends. We measured them, made a book about them, traced them for the book, added embellishments (on the book, not our real feet), described them, looked at other animals' feetsies, danced with paint (outside), squished and sqaushed and had a grand ol' time! So fun:)

2. Green Eggs and Ham... Just happened to coincide with right before St Patrick's Day, so we made green eggs and ham of course, for snack and graphed whether we liked it or not. Among other things, we also did some rhyming games with little cards the kids colored and cut out and then we played the game! This was a fun fun day. It was neat to teach the kids about rhyming and help them come up with their own rhyming schemes.

Oobleck... what else?
3. Cat in the Hat... We had such a fun time with this one! We played a game (after reading the book) where we went around the room and each child did a "homemade trick" (balancing while holding their tongue, etc.) and then the rest of us tried it. We also charted how many blocks we could balance in one hand as another trick. We made cat in the hat hats. They turned out so cute! Usually I don't do activities that are just cute, and I guess this one took a lot of concentration for cutting, patterning (red, white, etc.) but, when it comes down to it, it was just plain cute too! We had so much fun journaling this day too... the prompt I came up with was, "If the Cat in the Hat came to my house, I would..." The responses were hysterical:)

4. One Fish Two Fish- Again, we were able to spin this into a lot of rhyming and language gaming. I love taking a wonderfully written, fun, and engaging children's book and turning it into learning without them even knowing! THAT was today (and the past two weeks)! One game in particular we played with this one was to clap every time we heard a rhyme as we read the book. We also made our own stuffed red and blue fish... Made out of tissue paper, plastic page protectors and staples. My kiddos LOVE any chance to use the stapler (and it is a great way to build fine motor muscles, if carefully supervised!) So, we stapled away, and this is what we came up with! We also got to eat lots of yummy fish treats this day... swedish fish, fish sandwiches (just ike and zach), goldfish crackers, ocean water, and fish eggs (grapes).

See... I told you Dr. Seuss at preschool was going to be fun...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Best Playdough Ever, really... Ever!

Ok, I realize this is not a great photo, but BELIEVE ME... I have tried and tried playdough recipes... This one has the consistency of the store bought playdough (minus the smell...) I made this one red with red glitter (and raspberry koolaid for good smell) for Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day.

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. salt
1 pk Unsweetened koolaid, any flavor
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 c. water
2 T. corn oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens an dthe bottom is just starting to crust up, about 15 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and hard at this point.
Turn the dough out onto a large cookie sheet and let it cool. When cool, knead until smooth. Store in a covered container.
Let the fun begin!
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Sunday, January 16, 2011


I realize I'm *a little* behind in posting about preschool... Preschool is taking away some valuable blogging minutes;) But, I wouldn't have it any other way! It really has been a great experience for Isaac and I this year. One of my favorite things about teaching private preschool in my home is my ability to study and teach the things that are important to me and the kids. I LOVE being able to incorporate the gospel into school and being able to structure my curriculum to what they are interested in. I love that my kiddo has no distinction between religion and life. Does that make sense? To him, for now (fingers are crossed), they are one and the same. I love that.
     Anyway, Christmastime was no exception. Santa plays a small role in our family's Christmas celebration. I LOVE the spirit of giving, love, charity, hope, etc. that Santa brings, but I pride myself in not bringing in a huge amount of commercialization. We rarely talk about "what Santa will bring," though we do sing of Rudolph, Up on the Housetop, etc. I LOVE tradition:)
    This year at preschool, we started the very first week of December by talking about Samuel the Lamanite. He was a prophet who preached to the people the coming of the baby Jesus 5 years before his birth. We focused on the significance of the Star (Samuel and other prophets prophesied this would be the sign of Jesus' birth). It was so fun to give kids a whole new dimension of thinking about stars at Christmastime!
     We also studied Christmas tradition in other countries. We celebrated St Nick's day (Germany) and talked about the meaning of the Christmas tree, the origin of gingerbread houses, giving, celebrating, etc. We set up Santa's toy shop and painted our own ceramic banks, wrapped "gifts" (blocks) and loaded them into the "sleigh" to deliver for the children (among other things...) We also had some fun with texture table these weeks playing with ice, "snow," and cinnamon spiced playdough. What a fun week!
      Week 3 of Christmas, we talked more particularly about the actual events of the Savior's birth. We reenacted the story countless times (dramatic play!), played go fish with nativity cards, looked for the missing piece to the nativity set, made our own nativity scenes out of fun foam (as a shape activity). We had a great time celebrating Jesus' birth with our own birthday party. We each made a "gift" for Him by decorating a gift and writing on it what we were going to do this year that he would like (show kindness to my brother, remember to say my prayers, pick up my toys without being asked:) The kids thought of their gifts all by themselves! It was neat to really literally tie it all together by reading our gifts aloud while we ate birthday cupcakes under our crepe paper decorations!
       The first week of January we wrapped up our discussion of Christmastime by celebrating 3 Kings Day (Jan 6th) and talking about the Wisemen, their faith, how the stars led them to the Baby Jesus, and the Latin American traditions associated with this day. We had a celebration for 3 Kings Day and studied this culture as well. I think the kids really enjoyed learning how other children around the world celebrate Christmas:) We made some really awesome crowns this week out of painted paper plates, played phonics games with globos (balls- a common celebration toy during 3 K day) and ate traditional panetone. Fun! 

Gift Exchange- the kids had $2 to thoughtfully find a gift for their friend

Santa's workshop- painting banks

Mary, Baby Jesus, and the Myrrh Wiseman (Ike INSISTED)

      Unfortunately, I didn't take a lot of time to take pictures during all of this month... It was a wonderful experience that kept me grounded to the real reasons for the Christmas season. We had some fun times and learned a few new things along the way too!