Monday, March 31, 2014

Other fun things in January 2014

After we returned from our visit to family in January, we went back to regular life. Kids doing school work and playing games. Here are some pictures from the month, and yes, most of them are of my new son. I am smitten.

Sleeping baby, technically taken in SC actually. But he's so cute.

Little Guy loves being a big brother.

The baby fencer position. Love it.
Wasn't quite ready for the bumbo - he held his head up for maybe 10 seconds before slouching to the side.
Getting better head control
Really doing well at holding his head up, Baby loves sitting in the bumbo now to watch everyone.

We did receive a small amount of snow in January. It was mostly ice slush really but the kids were excited. Here Princess has gathered enough to make a snowball.

Princess received several arts and crafts kits for Christmas since she loves making things and colors. Here she is holding a glitter painting. Warning, the claim that it is easy and mess free is a LIE! (But at least she enjoyed it.)

Fixitman decided to grow a beard in January for fun. More on that in next month pictures.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

FHE catch-up: The Lord answers prayers and

I have gotten behind and out of order that they happened in posting about our Family Home Evening lessons. Because I wanted to report each of them for this six month period, here are two from a few weeks ago that I haven't posted yet in one short post. 

Princess' week to be in charge of Family Home Evening we based the lesson on a talk by Elder Terence M. Vinson entitled "Drawing Closer to God".  I should have written it up closer to when it was because I am having a hard time remembering exactly how she and I presented it. However I can tell you it involved the story of the man who prayed for help when his controlled burn got out of control and was threatening his neighbors' farms. This man had his prayers answered directly by a rain cloud appearing right over his farm and putting out the fire. He then prayed thanks to God for answering his humble prayer. We also talked about how trials can help us grow and increase our faith when we turn to the Lord and ask for help.

"the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally."

 When it was Fixitman's turn to give Family Home Evening, he gave a short lesson on love based on the scripture John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. We sang the primary song "As I Have Loved You" and talked about how God and Jesus love us and want us to be loving to everyone. It's a great message as we continue to work on being nice and kind to each other in our family.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

South Carolina Beach (January 2014)

You can't drive 1100 miles to South Carolina and not visit the beach at least once! South Carolina takes care of the beaches and the dunes and the natural habitats around them so they are some of the prettiest beaches. We visited an old lighthouse park this time. Even though it was January and too cold to swim my kids got wet and had a blast. I really enjoyed taking some pictures of them, it was so beautiful while we were there - slightly foggy and windy but with beautiful clouds and lighting.
 I have great memories of playing on large rocks as a kid. Love that my kids got to do so as well.

Princess jumped out of the picture right before I took this picture! Oh well, still love the image of the boys on the rocks.
 This is my nephew in a rare moment he wasn't dashing for the water.

 Princess with her Tio. He wasn't able to attend the wedding due to a mandatory work conflict but he came out a week later to spend time with us which was so fun!

 It was hard to capture his face because he was always staring longingly into the water.

 A not so flattering selfie of me, with a sleeping baby on my chest. I just didn't want to be left out of the pictures.
 This picture turned out really great and I love it.
 The lighthouse used to be on shore but is no out in the middle of the sea. You can see it in the back ground of a few pictures.

Monday, March 17, 2014

FHE - Look Up

Sometimes we lose our perspective. Sometimes we forget why we do all the things we are busy doing. Sometimes we need a reminder. Elder Adrian Ochoa gave a talk called "Look Up" and told a story of being so busy with his friends playing marbles they didn't notice the big storm coming.

To start this Family Home Evening lesson I had a lot of duplo blocks scattered all over the living room floor. My awesome husband had thoughtfully cleaned them up right before the lesson started so I got to dump them out again to do the lesson! I assigned each kid a color of block and told them to hurry and clean them up. I kept sharing kind of loud reminders (I wasn't yelling...) to get their blocks and to hurry and clean them up the whole time to create a sense of urgency and keep them focused. While they were doing it, I had my husband bring me a large bag of candy and placed it on top of the TV cabinet. When they finished I thanked them and told them I wished I had some sort of reward to give them for all their help. My daughter got up to go get some candy she knew I had stashed somewhere but I said, no, it would have to be right here in this room, maybe up high somewhere. I had to repeat the reminder several times before anyone looked up and saw the bag of candy. Then I shared the candy and my oldest, Dinoguy said "I know what the lesson is about! It's about looking up to Heavenly Father and Jesus for help!" :D I love it when he is helpful and perceptive.

The basic messages were to keep an eternal perspective on life and look for help from heaven. Having two points to share made it hard for me to be really articulate but I hadn't spent enough time preparing to do better. The quotes I shared included the following.

We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation... And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult - the spiritual. -Dallin H. Oaks Having food storage and emergency cash is easy to do physically and feel safe. It is a measurable goal. Knowing if you are spiritually prepared for life's trials and storms is harder.

We must remember this eternal principle: By their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:20) This quote is to discuss how to know if people who claim to be telling the truth really are and how to find credible sources when seeking wisdom.

If you ever come across anything that causes you to question your testimony of the gospel, I plead with you to look up. Look to the Source of all wisdom and truth. Nourish your faith and testimony with the word of God. The message of read the scriptures and seek the companionship of the Spirit really was all over the place in last General Conference. Studying the talks has made that repetitiveness more clear to me.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Family Visits (January 2014)

Since my sister's wedding was the day before our 12 year anniversary, Fixitman and I decided to take a mini vacation while my parents and sisters watched our kids. It was fabulous. Baby came with us of course but he slept most of the time since he was so young still.
Twelve years of marriage
While we were there, everyone held Baby, including my kids. He's cute and huggable of course!
My grandmother lives in South Carolina also and we enjoyed visiting her of course. She has a dock on a canal that connects to the ocean behind her house and the kids enjoyed throwing pinecones into it and watching them sail away.
Sweet boys. Love 'em lots!
Hah, Princess is holding a baby doll here, not our Baby!
Did it trick you? I did several double takes while we were there thanks to this doll.
He is already looking big and chunky. How fast they grow.
My nephew celebrated his first birthday while we were visiting! It was fun to be able to attend his party.

 (My sister makes awesome cakes as a hobby just looking things up on the internet.) Since she picked a race car theme, she also gave the kids boxes to make their own race cars and held foot races while wearing them. Simple stuff makes kids happy!
My mom likes to put out really large puzzles when family is gathered together. This one was a 3000 piece animal scene that took over 3 weeks of many people working on end with 1 piece missing. But puzzles are pretty much a family tradition I guess. We sit around searching for pieces and complain about the puzzle together.

Trips to visit family are never long enough but they are always fun! We loved seeing everyone.

Monday, March 10, 2014

FHE - Teaching with the Spirit

This week that Little Guy was in charge we were invited to a friend's house for Family Home Evening. They had just recently moved and needed Fixitman's help with the washer/dryer not working. In dividing the responsibilities, I chose the lesson and my friend chose dessert. Free cookies and friends! Awesome!

In planning this lesson I wanted Little Guy to be able to help as much as possible and I wanted it to be kid friendly since there would be 9 kids present (well the 2 babies were probably not going to cause problems...). So I used my good friend, LDS Coloring Pages to find some finger puppets and coloring pages and hoped those would help hold attention.

The talk the lesson was based on was given by David M McConkie from the Sunday School Presidency and called "Teaching with the Power and Authority of God". It was one of the talks I remembered listening to at conference and thinking I should study in more detail. But I hadn't done it yet! So I started by reading it and highlighting things that stuck out to me. Then I thought about the basic structure of the talk and what would work best with a lot of young kids.

He uses the story of the sons of Mosiah from the Book of Mormon as an example of teachers who taught with God's power and authority. He also discussed that the power and authority of God was really all about teaching by the spirit.

"Our first and foremost responsibility is to live so that we can have the Holy Ghost as our guide and companion. "

So I opened the lesson with a few questions to the group. Little Guy held them up on a sign and asked people to read them. "How can I best teach my family about the gospel?" "How can I prepare a lesson or talk for church?" "What can I do to be better able to share the gospel?"

Then I let Little Guy choose a Sons of Mosiah finger puppet from the ones I had prepared and pass out the others to all the kids. The kids liked these and I talked about how the sons of Mosiah had been good teachers of the gospel and shared this scripture:

"They were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. “But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had … the spirit of revelation." (Alma 17:2-3)

While the kids enjoyed the finger puppets, I had Little Guy hand out a few more quotes for people to read about how we could become like the sons of Mosiah.

The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments. We encourage you to dedicate yourself to living the gospel with greater purpose than ever before. (First Presidency, 2012 in Teaching the Gospel in the Savior's Way.)

"I always know when I am speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost because I always learn something from what I’ve said." (Marion G Romney)

"In order to successfully teach the gospel, you must have both the word and the power of the gospel in your life."

"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." (Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 1:5)

I also had a coloring page of a girl reading scriptures at the end since we were emphasizing that to teach with the Spirit, you must prepare yourself spiritually by reading your own scriptures. I had Little Guy pass this out for the kids to color as we ended the lesson with my testimony. Then after a closing prayer we had pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that my friend had made! Delicious!

And Fixitman was able to help them get their washer/dryer working again. Hurray!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Baby Sister's wedding! (January 2014)

She and her fiance decided to get married the day before our anniversary. So exactly 12 years after our wedding it was fun to be gathered with family again to celebrate another wedding.
My baby sister got married! She was so sweet and cute and little when Fixitman and I were wed and now she's grown up and married. I am happy for her and her sweet husband. They also tried to be accommodating to all of their sister in laws' having babies but timing wise it ended up almost exactly 6 weeks after my sweet baby was born.
The newlyweds with their 8 nephews and one niece (Yep, there are 4 babies there!)

Plus side to this sister wedding: I wasn't pregnant like I was the last two weddings! Down side: I still looked like I was. Oh well. The wedding wasn't about me so I just sucked it up and did my best to be helpful instead of complaining all the time. (I'm sure I complained some of the time. I am very good at sharing my feelings.)

She bought her dress used from online classifieds! It was a vintage dress from the 40's and it fit her almost perfectly.  Then she chose to use purple as her wedding color. I was very happy about that!
Just for comparison, she's the littlest one in the photo below from our wedding 12 years ago.
My sisters, best friends and I, wedding day, 2002.
My family has grown too. Here was our entire family at our wedding.
Now here is our entire family at this wedding (minus one sisters' husband). There are a few more of us!

My immediate family
Just us kids, almost all grown up.
Even though we were in South Carolina, it was a very cold day. Pictures were not very fun for little ones especially.
My handsome husband and sweet new baby, unwrapped right before a picture

My sweet sister and her son. I like that my hubbie and baby are in the background

My cold but excited daughter. She counted down the days to the wedding.

My debonaire oldest two

Warming up the babe
Sisters. It's pretty awesome to have them.

An attempt at a family photo
It was hard to get to the wedding since we were travelling with a young baby, but it was wonderful to be there and enjoy seeing lots of family. If you want to see more pictures, they are at Jarvie Digital.


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