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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monster Catch!

I know...you are impressed right?

That Noise...

I keep trying to tell people about this noise that Maggie makes that, to me, sounds like fingers on a chalkboard. It is this "I'm disgruntled...and I want to be sure you all know about it" kind of noise. Everytime I would get out the camera to capture it...she would stop.
But, I managed to capture it yesterday while we were in the car.
The noise I am talking about is the 2nd half of this video.
It doesn't sound nearly as obnoxious on video as it does in person,
so you guys will all be saying to yourselves,
"is THAT it?? What's the deal?"
But, honestly, she makes this noise a LOT...
And it drives me up the wall!!!
LOL!

Another weird sleeping position...

Notice ALL the covers have been shoved off into the floor...
Right before this she was sleeping in "prayer", he knees were on the floor
and her body was on the bed...she moved while I ran to go get the camera.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Relief Society Lesson


I teach 4th Sunday Relief Society and I really enjoyed the 2 talks I was asked to teach.
I thought I'd share some pieces of my lesson that really stuck out to me. I taught from Elder L. Tom Perry's talk called Mothers Teaching Children in the Home and Elder M. Russell Ballards talk called Mothers and Daughters. In both talks we are asked to nurture and teach our children.... Of course, how can I not, when I am gearing up to begin homeschooling Kayley, read and listen to these talks with my "homeschool filter" on?

In his talk Elder Perry tells us:
Teaching in the home is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, where the influence of the adversary is so widespread and he is attacking, attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society, even the family. Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility. While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to “train up a child in the way he [or she] should go” , ultimately this responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children.

I think that Elder Perry is telling us, regardless of whether our kids go to public school, private school, or homeschool...it is OUR responsibility to make sure that our children are learning the things that they need to know. We cannot rely on schools to teach our children things like modesty (I'll have another blog post about this later-this one drives me nuts!), morality, avoiding gossip and judgements, prayer, scriptures, and so forth... Our schools can only teach our kids the secular academics and, in some cases, the Golden Rule. It is the best that they can in a classroom full of other children in a society that is desenitized to biblical covenants. Which is one reason why many homeschooling Moms view this talk as confirmation that homeschooling is a good choice for our children. We can provide a layer of insulation between our little ones and the influence of the adversary, who is stealing our children from us, right out from under our noses.

In his talk, Elder Ballard tells the young women of the church:
Throughout the history of the world, women have always been teachers of moral values. That instruction begins in the cradle and continues throughout the lives of their children. Today our society is bombarded with messages about womanhood and motherhood that are dangerously and wickedly wrong. Following these messages can put your daughters on the path to sin and self-destruction. Your daughters may not understand that unless you tell them or, better, unless you show them how to make good choices. As mothers in Israel, you are your daughters’ first line of defense against the wiles of the world.
Mothers, your example is extremely important to your daughters -- even if they don't acknowledge it. Let me assure you that even when you think your daughter is not listening to a thing you say, she is still learning from you as she watches you to see if your actions match your words. As Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say”

I love how Elder Ballard comes out and says that we are our daughters example and we need to act accordingly. He discusses how, if Mom dresses immodestly-daughter will dress immodestly, if Mom gossips - daughters gossip, and so on. I know this to be true in a few of the things that Kayley has said to me. For example, yesterday she wanted to do something, and I asked her, "Why would you want to do that?" And her response was, "Because I said so." Oh... we can only assume she has heard THAT line from me and her daddy. LOL!

The Lord has given us the sacred duty to teach our own children.
This responsibility must not be taken lightly or left to others.
As a sister mentioned yesterday, we have been told that if we are
negligent in teaching our children the things we should,
then their sins will be on OUR heads...

In a 1991 Conference talk Elder Ballard said:
“We cannot and we must not allow the school, community, television, or even Church organizations to establish our children’s values. The Lord has placed this duty with mothers and fathers. It is one from which we cannot escape and one that cannot be delegated. Others may help, but parents remain accountable. Therefore, we must guard the sanctity of our homes because that is where children develop their values, attitudes, and habits for everyday living”

Ah! Don't you LOVE that? Doesn't this really go with that awesome talk I found the other day called No One Else Called Mom? (See June 25th).

Anyway- I was only able to get through about 1/3 of my lesson yesterday, which is typical. I love to let the sisters in class share as much as possible. I know that they learn more from one another than they will learn from me. And-There are so many good Moms that had such awesome thoughts on this talk. Obviously, I did not approach this lesson from a homeschooling perspective at all, but I know there are 3 other homeschooling Moms in my class that offered some insightful thoughts. The biggest thing was TIME. And not just quality time...

I shared this thought from Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family:
Let's suppose you've looked forward all day to eating at one of the finest restaurants in town. The waiter brings you a menu, and you order the most expensive steak in the house. But when the meal arrives, you see a tiny piece of meat about one-inch square in the center of the plate. When you complain about the size of the steak, the waiter says, "Sir, I recognize that the portion is small, but that's the finest corn-fed beef money can buy. You'll never find a better bite of meat than we've served you tonight. As to the portion, I hope you understand that it's not the quantity that matters, it's the quality that counts."

You would object, and for good reason. Why? Because both quality and quantity are important in many areas of our lives, including how we relate to children. They need our time and the best we have to give them.

My concern is that the quantity-versus-quality argument might be a poorly disguised rationalization for giving our children -- neither.

I thought they really brought up some great points about how and why to spend time with your children, especially as they become teens. WE need to be the ones to teach them about sexual matters....not their health class and certain NOT their peers. We need to be the ones to teach them about reverence for their bodies. School will NOT teach this. We need to be the ones to teach them about love and service. And prayer and scripture study. Why not be the ones to just go ahead and teach them how to read, write and figure?

Homeschooling may not be a good choice for everybody, but, honestly....NOBODY will love your children and care as much about their success as YOU. And I'm not saying that schools are bad. There are a lot of great schools, there are a lot of great teachers. I know a few myself. I'm just saying that I am thankful that circumstances will allow me to guide my girls through their education and keep them close to me and our Heavenly Father as we go. I was really excited to see these talks (no, I didn't get to watch much conference...but I do devour the Ensign when it comes out) and to realize that our church leaders, although they do not come out and say it directly (could you imagine the uproar?), are supportive of our homeschooling efforts.

If you haven't had a chance to read these talks and want to

you can find Elder Perrys HERE

and Elder Ballards HERE.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hello, my name is Mom...

Mother and Daughter image by Natalia Tejera

So, I found this talk yesterday as I was shuffling through a homeschool website.
It spoke volumes to me relative to how I was feeling last night.
I don't really feel a whole lot better, but this talk seemed to give
me a little bit of consolation in knowing that I'm still doing something important
even though I do not have a leadership calling in the church.
I know that one is not supposed to "aspire" to church callings, but
it is challenging for me to be involved with something that I do not get the
opportunity to eventually be 'in charge'. Sorry.
Its the truth about me.
I spent 10 years in the military, where, hard work
and dedication moves you up
the ladder into positions of greater responsibility.
(And a person should seek greater responsibility.)
I was secretary of AFSA,
I was the point-person for Adopt-A-Street for my entire military base,
& I created the 56 club and served as president...
I left the military and went to school where I joined Student Government
and then a year later was chairman of the Student Leadership Forum.
I dressed up as an artichoke for CNN.
I was selected to represent the entire student body on the Presidential selection committee when my college hired a new president...
I'm sorry... this is just who I am.
And how I'm made.
I like to work hard,
and achieve greater responsibility for my work.

Now I feel like I've been demoted to being "Dr. Buckner's wife" and
"President Buckner's wife" and "Brother Buckner's wife"
oh, and "James' wife."
It's like I don't have a name or an identity anymore.
I used to be my own person.
But now I'm just an appendage of my spouse.
For a prideful person like me,
it is a bitter pill to swallow.


It all leaves me feeling like I have been making
"lateral" moves since I joined the church,
while watching my husband climb the ladder into positions of greater
responsibility. It did leave me questioning my worthiness in all respects.
Does the Bishop not trust me?
(Of course not, like I said, he hasn't actually made an effort to even get to know me).
Then does God not trust me?
Am I too stupid?
Is it because I'm a convert?
Is it because I didn't serve a mission?

I don't know, and I don't understand the workings of God.
Or the workings of our Bishop.
Or the workings of how and why some people get leadership
callings and others don't.
Want to know the callings I've held?
Cub Scout Assistant Den Leader
12 Year old Teacher
Nursery Worker
Sunbeam Teacher
9 year old Teacher
Relief Society Teacher
Relief Society Teacher
Relief Society Teacher
Relief Society Teacher
Gospel Doctrine Teacher
Relief Society Teacher

To give you an idea of the callings my husband has had:
Leadership
Leadership
Leadership
Leadership
Elders Quorum Teacher
Leadership
Ward Missionary
Leadership

Sigh.
But, this talk did help a little.
Really.

No One Else Named Mom

By Kari Lewis

She looked directly at me, talking intently. I felt increasingly uncomfortable and distracted. The baby in her arms was fussing loudly and batting at her face. She deftly darted her head around to miss the most direct slaps from his tiny hand and talked on. Her 3-year-old was pulling on her skirt and calling to her loudly. Still she talked on. Her 5-year-old was out of her range of sight and hearing, doing who knows what. Still she talked on.

I tried to see if I could help the 3-year-old with something. He glared at me and kept tugging on his mom. Still she talked on. I smiled at her baby and offered him his pacifier, to no avail. Still she talked on, the conversation frequently punctuated by her exasperatedly saying a child's name, trying to get one or the other to settle down. But it didn't work. It never worked.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the only time this scene played out over the years. As my friend's children got older, they did more and more audacious things trying for Mom's attention, all while she talked on, doing her own thing.

There was nothing wrong with the things my friend talked about. She was a Christian lady who wanted to make a difference in the world around her. She loved to minister to others and share her knowledge and godly insight on things such as her ministries in the church, why homeschooling was important, abortion/pro-life issues, healthy eating, creation vs. evolution, and a host of other truly vital, important topics.

Though there was nothing inherently wrong with the things my friend talked about or the ministries and activities she was involved in, something nonetheless was terribly wrong.

What was wrong in my friend's life? She was living out a proper, Godly focus at an improper season of life! She desired to be used by God, but failed to see that her most important ministry at this stage of her life (and for many years to come) was her home and her children'not the church or the world. The right thing at the wrong time equals the wrong thing!

Tragically, my friend's heart was not truly and fully at home with her children. Yes, she was bodily at home much of the time, she talked to her children about the Lord, she homeschooled and used Christian curriculum, and she and her family were faithful church members, present every time the doors were open. But her feelings of joy and self-worth were derived from ministering to others, not from raising her children. Her children knew it and responded in kind. Home was chaotic and miserable.

I wish I could say her family has had a happy ending, but they haven't, at least not yet. In the grace, mercy and love of God, they still may; but during the 25 years we've known them, things have gone from bad to worse.

There have been broken relationships and confusion in abundance. The parents love the Lord and are worried, perplexed, and even ashamed.

Most of us have my friend's problem to some degree or another. We all want significance or acceptance, and we have a natural tendency toward selfishness. We have hopes, dreams or plans, whether that means we want to do something big and important like reaching a whole continent for the Lord, or whether that means our greatest desire is to take a nap this afternoon.

If we're truthful, most of us would admit that occasionally we have a teensy-weensy tendency, no matter what we say with our mouths to the contrary, to feel that children are messy, noisy distractions to be endured during our quest for meaning or life as we want it to be. (Was that said too honestly for our comfort, or did I pretty much hit the nail on the head? Ouch!)

But how does God parent us? Is He distant and involved in His own thing? Do we have to pester or become obnoxious to get His attention? Is He concerned with mature Christians rather than new Christians (older, more "useful" children rather than younger children)? Is He touched by our infirmities? Does He stick closer than a brother? Did He die for us?!

A slight rewording of John 15:13 may be helpful for us Christian moms: "Greater love hath no mom than this, that a mom lay down her life for her family." Laying down our lives doesn't sound fun, but Jesus said that whoever "loses his life for God's sake finds it" and the life we find in Him is abundant! What perspective, hope and blessing!

Matthew 18:10 says, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. " Wouldn't it please God and show Him that we don't despise our little ones, no matter how old they are if our faces and hearts were easily and freely beheld by our children? Motherhood is time consuming; it takes vast effort, thought, care, creativity, and selflessness to be done well, but the blessings of fulfilling that high calling are well worth every sacrifice!

The world and even the church clamor after us about this activity, that cause, or this ministry. Often these activities are worthwhile and God-centered. As Christians, we may be interested and want to be involved, other times we're made to feel that we just don't measure up if we don't get involved. However, we need to prayerfully and carefully determine God's will for our families. We don want to sacrifice His best for something that is only good!

Our ministries and mission fields are in our homes and children. Our highest calling is in the baby that cried off and on last night seemingly just because he loves to hear his voice reverberate through the quiet house. It is in our 3-year-old when she asks her trillionth "why" question of the morning. It is in our 6-year-old as he uproariously spouts off yet another knock-knock joke. It is in our 10-year-old as he struggles with math. Our ministry continues to be vastly important throughout the pre-teen years and beyond, as our children's natural talents and bents for the future become more apparent, needing more specific prayer, affirmation and direction. Our ministry is in continually learning to know and read our children correctly so we are able to address their heart issues. The heart is vastly more important than outward actions, but takes considerably more prayer, time and effort to see and address properly.

Our ministry is learning to take immense pleasure in being with our children, laughing, working, talking, praying, learning and playing - no matter how old or young they are. The other stuff of life doesn't matter nearly as much - others are out there doing those things.

My dad once shared a poem with me written by Charlotte Fiske Bates. I've never forgotten it:

Duties are pressing upon me,
And the time for work is brief,
What if with purblind vision,
I neglect the very chief?

What if I do with ardor
What a thousand could maybe,
And leave undone forever
What was meant for only me?

No one else named Mom lives in our homes and holds our children's hearts and lives like we do. Let's not miss our greatest ministry!

Kari Lewis is the mom here Home School Enrichment. She and Frank have been married for 31 years and homeschooled Matthew and Jonathan from their early elementary years through their high school graduations. Together, the four of them started Home School Enrichment in late 2002. This article was originally published in the Sept/Oct 2008 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine.


The part where she mentions, "others are out there doing those things" kind of made me snort. Because, it is MY husband who is out there doing those things. GROAN!


Red Neck Fire Alarm...

No batteries required...(thanks Uncle B!)

Bathing Beauties...










Happy Bath Baby...



Maggie went from hydrophobic to bath-lover overnight...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yes, I am the "First Lady"

So. I guess I am officially a "First Lady" since
my husband was called to be Elders Quorum President in our ward a few weeks ago.
I know, I know.
Our sacrifice to serve the Lord will bring untold blessings to our family.
Yadda-yadda-yadda.
Blah-blah.
I don't want to hear it.
At least not yet.

I'm not trying to sound selfish, but, I guess I am.
We just barely scraped through years of separation during medical school,
then 3 horrific years of residency.
80+ hours a week he was working!
When he was home, he was so tired...he wasn't really "there".
I felt like a single Mom.
I was lonely.
Depressed.
and Angry.
I questioned whether or not our marriage was going to make it.

We had finally pulled through...
We had about 8 months where it felt like we were
finally getting to know each other again.
Where we were actually learning to love again.
We just had a new baby in January.
Life was really improving.

But.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Or does He?
Because I really question callings.
I'm not so sure I really have much of a testimony of callings at all.
In fact...Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that I don't.

So.
My husband got called to be the Elders Quorum President
in our ward a few weeks ago.
Why? Why him? Why now?

Meetings on Wednesday.
"Home Teaching 'Roundup'" on Thursday.
Working Urgent care on Friday...
Meetings ALL freakin' DAY on Sunday.
Now, for some reason, his work days start even earlier.
He keeps getting done even later because he is getting busier.

I feel like a single Mom.
Again.

When I told a few people that James got called to be EQ president,
you know what happened?
Women offered me CONDOLENCES.
Now, you tell me, is there something weird about that?
Of course there is.
Because, when men get called into leadership positions,
it makes (many of) us women-types NOT happy.
Why?
Because, the guys are all out at their meetings...
while us women stay at home alone,
with the kids,
a LOT.
Maybe some women love being with their kids alone all the time?
but NOT me...
(Don't get me wrong-because I LOVE my girls but...)
I like my space
(which I don't get much of)
and
I like to be with my husband
(which I don't get much of either).

-Now, my husband is in the "in crowd" at church.
He's bonding with the Bishop at "roundup" last night...
(You know, I'm pretty sure the Bishop doesnt even know MY name.
In fact, I'm pretty sure he's never said more than 2 words to me...
In fact, how can he comfortably take my husband from me,
without making the effort to get to know me too????)
I digress
-He's essential to the progression of the ward.
-In the know with everything going on.
-Planning activities.
-Chatting in the hallway at church with his new buddies.
-Going to his secret society church meetings.
etc. etc. etc.

Do I sound jealous?
I guess I am.
My husbands coworkers and the bishopric see my husband more than I do.
And I'm still in the "out crowd."
The one that'll be hanging out in the hallway, out by myself with a fussy baby.
I don't have any new buddies.
I'm not essential to anything except changing diapers.
OH, Do I sound jealous?
I guess I am.
The Lord has never found me worthy to be essential to the ward.
He's just found me worthy to be a relief society teacher.
Again. and again. and again.

Do I sound angry?
depressed?
lonely?
I guess I am.

I feel a rift forming between me and my ward "family."
I feel hurt and left out.
I feel discounted.
I feel like 'just' the babysitter.
I feel like 'just' a teacher.
I feel like 'just' a nobody.

Ok, so, I sound terribly bitter and cranky about the whole situation.
I suppose I am.

Ah, enjoy this post while you can.
It'll probably only be up until I feel
guilty about my rant.
(or until God strikes me with lightening.)
Then I'll delete it.






A Girl and Her Frog...

A veritable Tom Sawyer is my Kayley.
The next thing you know, we'll be white-washing fences.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A little toast with your cinnamon sugar?

Never turn your back on a little girl with a
cinnamon sugar shaker and a piece of buttered toast.
Never.

Steven & Jenna's Wedding Pictures

Steven and Jenna's wedding pics are up for those that would like to go take a look at the slideshow... Photo's are by Phase 3 Photography and they are GORGEOUS!

(above photos by Phase 3 Photography)

Click on the logo below to see all of Phase 3 Photography's pictures of Steven and Jenna.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Morbid Nursery Rhymes...

Kayley and I were just being silly.
I told her she was my big baby and that I'd rock her to sleep.
So I started singing:

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Kayley asked me,
"What is a bough??"
So I explained that it was a tree branch.
Well... After that, Kayley sat up and looked at me,
(A relatively horrified look actually)
and said,
"What!?
Why would somebody put their baby in a TREE where
she could fall??? Why would they do THAT?!?"

Good Question...
Who wrote these morbid nursery rhymes anyway?
Next time I need to find something else to sing.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ch-Ch-Chinchilla!

Ok. So, I know with all of these blog postings I make it look like we do so much amazing stuff over the summer... And the truth is: We do. And we do this kind of stuff all year round too. Come hang out with me and we'll go places!

Here is Kayley petting the worlds softest animal. A chinchilla!


Oh, there is Maggie...hanging out on the floor while Kayley does art projects at the ZEBRA class at Dickerson Park Zoo.... Give it time, Maggie can start classes at 2 years old!!
Kayley working on a stamp art project.
Maggie in the car seat...for no reason other than...she looked pretty cute.
Some amazingly weird clouds on the way to the zoo.
I heard that this is an all new cloud formation and they just added it to
the weather atmospheric official book.
(or something like that).

A trip to the zoo on a hot afternoon...

Maggie was super happy to be there.
(Come on...you know you are loving that water spout on her head!)

Baby swans!
Zoo key was SO worth the 3 dollar investment!
Feeding the goats.
Playing in the mister.
Meeting a Mr. Possum. Or is it Mr. O'Possum?
Feeding the giraffe!

Firefly Frolic


Ok, so I know this is a terrible picture of the back of Kayley's head, but it is the only one that turned out. Me, my camera, and dusk just do NOT get along.
Anyway, we went to the nature center a few nights ago to participate in their Firefly Frolic. We had a lot of fun learning about Firefly (or, if you are from around here: Lightening Bugs). Then we went out and caught as many as we could and put them in a big jar to admire them. (Yes, they were set free at the end). It was pretty neat and I'm glad we could go.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Springfield Train Museum

We had a great time on Saturday visiting the Springfield Train Museum!
It was visitors appreciation weekend so we got in for free...
only, when we got there we discovered the museum is always free.
So, no big bargain there.
Fun anyways though! haha!
(btw: Yes, Kayley does love Cheerios...the shirt is very appropriate).

Kayley and Daddy checking out the upper level on the passenger car!
Riding high in the caboose.
This is the end of the train! Look out!
And the engineer sits right here...
And the coal goes in there...

Ringing the bell.
They put it outside because they were concerned
about kids falling out the train window while trying to ring the bell.


The historical truck association was there as well...with their ... uh, historic trucks...

Look, me and Maggie were actually there too!
She is about to Karate Chop the camera...
and I need to get her hair out of my teeth.
Hijacking the mail mans jeep...
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