Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Little things...

Back in February I had the opportunity to speak in Stake Conference. I was asked to speak on Doing the little things as a family. Here is my talk...

I’m sure there are many of you that have seen the movie Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Well last month I was having just one of these days. I had been struggling all morning with a difficult child and after not knowing what else to do sent them to their room to finish the temper tantrum they were having. Now this child has quite the set of lungs and was letting it all out. About a half an hour later I got a knock at the door. To my surprise it was two police officers asking if they could come in and talk to me. They explained that someone walking down my street had heard a child screaming coming from my house and had called for them to check it out. I brought my child in and asked them to explain to the officers just why they were screaming. Fast forward a couple of hours and Ben gets a phone call from Pres. Gifford asking us to come in to speak to him. My mind is wondering just what he could need to talk to us about, and my husband starts to put into my mind that Pres. Gifford probably got wind of the situation at home that afternoon and wanted to talk to us about it. The first thing that Pres. Gifford says when we sit down is that he heard we had a visit from the police today. Then he proceeds to ask me if I would speak in stake conference the following month.  Now as I stand up here terrified, I think I would rather get a visit from the police than be in front of all of you. On the plus side I do get to sit by my husband. That doesn’t happen very often.

I have been asked to speak on doing the little things consistently in raising a family. We have four children between the ages of 8 and 2.  Right now it’s the little things that we are teaching our children. As I was thinking about this topic there are 6 things that I wanted to talk about.

1. Family Prayer –
Tad R Callister in the October 2014 General Conference stated, “Which parent in Book of Mormon times would have let their sons march out to the front of battle without a breastplate and shield and sword to protect them against the potentially mortal blows of the enemy? But how many of us let our children march out the front door each morning to the most dangerous of all battlefields, to face Satan and his myriad of temptations, without their spiritual breastplate and shield and sword that come from the protective power of prayer?”

My children are only in elementary school and I already see the temptations and evils that Satan is placing before my children. I know that the family prayer we have in  the mornings before they go to school is placing a protection upon my little ones as I send them away from the safety of our home in to the dangers of the world.

Family prayer is not only reserved for morning and evening. President Kimball said: “Never hesitate to gather your family around you for your prayers, especially in those times when more than morning and evening family prayer is needed. Extra needs require extra prayers.”

A couple of months ago as I was getting my children ready for school we found that my youngest who was almost 2 at the time had gone into the bathroom, shut the door, opened the drawer that was behind the door and climbed up on the counter. The drawer was open far enough that we couldn’t close it and we couldn’t open the door because the drawer was blocking it. Little Taysom was now sitting in the sink crying and wanting us to get him. He was unable to climb down from the counter so he was stuck. We couldn’t get to him. For about 40 min we tried everything we could think of to get the door open. We were frusterated, he was freaking out. Finally I grabbed all my children and we all knelt down in the hall. I prayers to our Heavenly Father that Taysom would calm down enough so that he would be able to listen and understand what we needed him to do in order to get him out. 5  min later I was able to calm Taysom down enough to instruct him to reach over and close the drawer so that we could open the door. That little experience is one that my children have often talked about since in learning that Heavenly Father answers prayers.

2. Family Home Evening –
Joseph B. Wirthlin stated; “The ideal way to transform your home into a house of learning is to hold family home evening faithfully. The Church has reserved Monday evening for that purpose. In 1915, the First Presidency instructed local leaders and parents to inaugurate a home evening, a time when parents should teach their families the principles of the gospel. The Presidency wrote: “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.”

I recall a conference talk given by Elder Bednar in which he recalled how he and his wife wondered if their efforts to do the spriutal things such as Family Home Evening were worthwhile. As he told of children fighting during lesson, being rambunctious and not knowing if they were getting anything out of the lessons, I thought to myself, this is exactly where we are. Sometimes our family home evenings last all of 10 minets because that is the attention span of most children under 5. But the thing that Elder Bednar pointed out was that it’s not always about the spiritual edification. It’s about consistency. In D&C 64:33, we read “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great”. Elder Bednar stated, “Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.”–

3. Church Attendance -
It is no small task to get four and myself to church by 9:00 each week. Someone has always lot their shoes, needs their shirt buttoned, hair done, diaper changed, breakfast made church bag packed, found the keys, buckled all the car seats, and finally getting into the chapel and seated in our seats.
Usually as I walk into the chapel someone says to me that they don’t know how I do it. How I get everyone ready and to church on time. As we got through the meeting I sometimes ask myself WHY do I do this? Most of the time I am out in the hall with one or more children and the others have been known to fist fight while I’m in the hall.

Yet again it’s the consisiancy that Elder Bednar talked about. My children know that on Sunday’s we go to church and my question of why do I do this gets answered as I sit in Primary and feel of the spirit that is there and know that my children feel that same spirit and as we come home and talk about the things that they have learned. I know that church attendance is laying a foundation for their testimonies.

4. Encourage good music, art and literature in the home –
I thoroughly believe that you are what you surround yourself with and that a home should be a heaven on earth. When our home is filled with good-music, pictures of the temple, our family and  the Savior it is a place where the spirit can reside and in so-doing can be place where are children can learn to recognize the spirit and what it feels like. Pres. Benson said, “Homes that have a spiritual refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.”

When my first child was born we read him stories and sang him songs before he went to bed. Some of the time it would be Nursery Rhym songs, sometimes Primary songs. As each child entered our family and we continued the routine of singing songs before bed, less and less were they Nursery ryme songs but rather more and more Primary Songs. In fact I don’t think my youngest child even knows Twinkle Twinkle little star. When asked what song he wants us to sing to him he proudly exclaimes “Dooey” which means I Love to See the temple. “this is my sacred duty.”My hope and prayer is that my children will remember these primary songs and that in times of struggle they will remember the words they have learned and they may help them make wise decisions.

5. Spending Time Together -
One of my favorite commerials that the church has put out is one where a little girl comes into the room of her sleeping parents. She goes to the side of her fathers bed with a book and says “Daddy, can you read me a story?”  He tells her not right now, but to go ask her mother. The little girl then walks to her Mother’s side of the bed and asks, “Mommy, can Daddy read me a story?”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.”1Whether family members get together for scheduled outings, sharing interests, or serving others, these gatherings strengthen relationships that can be eternal.

We love to spend time together as a family. Playing card games, watching movies, supporting each other in our various activities, going on walks, hiking, camping, playing at the park and we love to travel. We try as often possible to get away with our family. I pray that my children will cherish the time that we are able to spend as a family and that in so doing it will help build and bond our relationships together.

6. Service -
There are many different ways to serve but the one way I want to talk about is serving within the church.

President Benson stated “Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them so that they too will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.”

From the time I was 8 years old my father has served in very demanding church callings. I actually don’t remember a time when my father sat with us at church. My dad is amazing at his callings. He takes them seriously and serves in each capacity to the best of his ability. I am grateful for the examples that my parents have given me of serving in the church and also the examples that they have given me of supporting each other in their callings. In all the years of church service I have never heard my mom complain about all the time my dad has had to put into his callings. And when we as children complained that our dad couldn’t be to one of our activities she lovingly reminded us that he was serving the Lord. Through these years I’ve gained a testimony of service in the church. I’ve seen the blessings that have come to the lives of my family because of the service and sacrifice of my parents and I too have the desire to serve my Heavenly Father in whatever capacity he sees fit.
Looking back I feel that the Lord was preparing me for this time in my life where I am able to support my husband in his calling and help my children understand the importance of serving the Lord. I pray that in seeing their father serve and in me showing my support of him they too will want to serve in the Church.

I bare my testimony that this church us true and that our Savior lives and loves us. These things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

You would literally think it was Christmas morning when the kids woke up on St. Patrick's Day. We had set a trap for the Leprechaun the night before and all the kids were up early to see if they caught him. Well...of course they didn't, but they got to go on a little scavenger hunt to find what the little green dude left. They all got a new green shirt and some gold candy.

We had Lucky Charms for breakfast, green milk and then we had green eggs and ham for dinner. There was a lot of green food coloring ingested!

I can't get over how big my kids are getting! They are some pretty cute kids too!






Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Download

I decided to put on my crafty pants and decorate for Valentines Day. It has only taken me 3 years to make those red balls!

Isaac celebrated 100 days of school. They had to come up with something that represented the day. Thank you Pinterest!

We took the crib down for the first AND the last time in nearly 9 years. It was a bitter sweet day. I shed a few tears knowing that my "baby" stage is over. I can't believe how fast it has gone! The kids got new bunk beds and I'm in the process of re-doing the room.

Taysom thinks this horse was meant for him to ride!

Kelsie is my creative one. She LOVES to color. It is probably the first thing she asks to do when she gets up in the morning and I'm happy to let her go it. When she's coloring....she's not in trouble!

At the age of 2 EACH ONE of my boys has been obsessed with Buzz Lightyear. They have carried his around EVERYWHERE they go , especially to bed. It's fun to have something they are attached to, but it's also horrible when they lose him!

We have had a VERY MILD winter this year. In fact we have already had some 70 degree days! So when the snow decided to come it REALLY to come down!

Kelsie has learned how to take "Selfies" She has learned that even though I lock my phone, she can swipe the camera up and take pictures. So we have lots of Kelsie selfies to search through.

This is Taysom's new trick. Talk about a blood rush!

I had the really fun opportunity to go on a field trip with Kayleb and the 1st graders. We went to the Children's Museum at the Gateway. They kids all had a great time! Although I think their favorite part was probably the bus ride.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kayleb Turns 6

It's hard to imagine that this kid is already 6 years old! Time has flown way to fast for this mama! This year we told him that we were going to have a family party. So he decided he wanted Taco Salad for dinner....it is one of his favorites....and then he wanted to play the Wii and PlayStation with Ben and Isaac. It was a good day. I think he enjoyed getting all the attention just on him for one day. Grandma and Grandpa Larsen came over do we could have ice cream. Kayleb doesn't like cake so we didn't do it.

We went for his 6 year old check-up as well and here are his stats:

41 lbs
43 3/4 inches tall
He LOVES to eat and is my BEST eater....he will eat everything I make...even broccoli.
Favorite Food is Taco Salad
Leaning how to read...does really well.
Loves to play the Wii and Playstation.
Loves Basketball and watching the Jazz games.
He is the comic relief in our family and always has something funny to say or do.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Potty-Training...for the LAST time!

This is really happening at our house! I wasn't even ready to start with potty-training yet, but this little guy has been telling me every so often for the last week that he needed to go! So last Friday we went and got him some undies and we decided to go for it. The first day he only had 2 accidents, and he woke up dry from his nap. Then he was sick on Saturday and Sunday and I didn't want to push it, so we started again today. He has had 2 accidents so far. We'll see how the rest of it goes. Heaven help me! I HATE potty-training!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

Valentine's Day was a pretty fun day. It was actually on a Saturday this year, so we got to celebrate all weekend long. The weekend started off by Ben and I going away Friday night. Ben had NO IDEA we were staying the night at the Armstrong Mansion. I had booked everything, gotten a sitter for the night, packed our bag and hid it in the car. We went to dinner and it was at dinner that I told him that we weren't going home after dinner....we were headed to the Armstrong Mansion for the night. He was SUPER surprised!

Saturday morning Ben and I stopped off at Banbury Cross to get the doughnuts for the kids....they are some of the yummiest doughnuts around! Then we headed home and gave the kids their gifts. They each got a new T-Shirt to wear for Valentines Day and some chocolates. It was such a beautiful day ad we really didn't have much going on, so it was fun to





Sunday, February 1, 2015

January Phone Download.....

I always love when I download the pictures off my phone because most of the time it shows what we have been doing during the month. So here is our January updates.

 Kelsie got a whole new slew of dress-ups for Christmas and so not a day goes by where she is dressed to the nines in her princess gear.

I caught this little gem one night after the kids had all been bathed and were waiting for me to do the bedtime routines. I love that they love each other! Brother loves are THE BEST!

One of Taysom's FAVORITE things is when I'm doing laundry and the laundry baskets are empty. He decides that it's time to play! Love his smile of pure enjoyment!

Emily and Abby were over to play one day and the ALL had to get dressed up...then they played "Dance Recital." Love these girls and that they are the best of friends!

Ben had a customer who had a new baby, so Ben asked me to make a diaper cake for them. It had been a while and I haven't got my craft on for a while, but it was fun to be crafty again and even funner to see the finished product.

Someday's mothering is REALLY hard, but somedays it's these little moments when they all want to cuddle that make everything worth it.

Kelsie's hair had been getting REALLY bad. The ends were completely shot, so fine and damaged. She had only had trim before when she was a year old, so I decided it was time to help it out a bit. Since we were only trimming the ends I decided to try it myself. I did an ok job and her hair looks SO much better and healthier and thicker. She was so worried to have her hair cut because she thought her hair would turn brown like Rapunzel in Tangled. But it's still blond!


Friday, January 30, 2015

The Cops!

Anyone that really KNOWS my daughter, knows she can be SUPER sweet, but they also know that she can be a REAL stinker sometimes. SO today she asked for a drink. She wanted a drink in a sippy cup, well she had just gotten a drink from another cup that was sitting on the counter. I told her that she didn't need another cup and to use the one she had. Well THAT was not what she wanted, so she proceeded to have a complete and utter meltdown. I told her I didn't want to hear her screaming so she needed to go to her room until she could control herself. Well she proceeded to scream for about 20 min. She finally calmed down and she came out of her room. About a half an hour later I get a knock at my door and there are 2 police officers asking to come in. They told me that someone had been walking down the street and heard a child screaming coming from the house and called the police to check it out.
I am COMPLETELY embarrassed and a little bit angry! I'm glad that someone cared enough to have the police check it out, but I'm hurt that it might be because someone might think I hurt my child. Sometimes I get so frustrated now days because you cant do ANYTHING to discipline your children! I sent her to her room to calm down and I get the police called.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Guts

Kelsie has had strep throat the past week. Today I went to give her, her meds and she told me she doesn't need them and that she's not sick anymore. I asked her how she knew that and she said "when I swallow my guts it doesn't hurt anymore."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

It Goes To Fast!

Today I rocked my "baby", (who's not so much a baby anymore but rather 2 years old) as I do every day to put him down for a nap. As he fell asleep I rocked him just a little bit longer. I held him as he steadily breathed in and out. So peaceful. My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered not long ago wondering if it would ever end. The sleepless nights, the crying babies, the endlessness of needing me for everything. I realized then that it is almost over. My kids are growing up before my very eyes. All to quickly. It won't be much longer before I won't have a baby to rock to sleep anymore. I won't be the person that can solve anything and everything by just a cuddle and a rock in my lap. There is a time and a season for everything in life and all to quickly this season is coming to a close. Just as quickly as I used to ask "when this will ever end" I now wonder if I can go back? I look at the baby pictures and even though days were long and hard they were filled with everything I dreamed about being a mother. I have been blessed to richly with these children I call mine. This year will be then beginning of the end. I'll take the crib down....it's been up for nearly 8 years...potty train for the last time, and then the baby stage will be over. My heart aches a little bit that that season of life is almost over. There is something special about having a baby in the house. Sure I can always have another baby, but there will always have to be an end. I pray that the Lord will help me during this change the season of my life and that the next season will be just as fulfilling.