Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jolie Bug: She SPEAKS! :)

So I was perusing through our old blog (, just flipping through like one might flip through a photo album. As I perused, I found a post (here) in which I detailed all of the words that James could say then. He was about Jolie's age, and SHEESH! That boy could talk! I got worried about Jolie as I read the post, thinking that we needed to start working with her on so many things. Not to compare, but really- I felt she had a minuscule vocabulary compared to his at her age. Anyway, it got me thinking... and worrying... and thinking. I was talking with one of my friends, expressing my worry, and she asked if Jolie said mama and daddy. I replied that of course she did, and she also said this and this and this... And then I realized something: it's quite possible that she talks much more than I give her credit, and that it's just that I don't pay as close of attention! With James (for better or for worse), our entire universe revolved around him. And while we love and adore Jolie just as much, she gets vocally drowned out by that jibber-jabbery brother of hers and overlooked in far too many things.

SO! I decided to sit down and make a list of things Jolie says (well, words- her coos and babbles don't get much mention). And I was pleasantly surprised! She says a whole lot more than I realized! Another smarty pants! (Phew!) :) It must run in the family, ha. And while she does talk a lot less frequently than James did/does, she consistently says the following words. (Heaven forbid we have a soft spoken child, eh?) :) Sweet girl. Okay, here ya go (in no particular order):

Da-ee (daddy)
Day (occasionally "Jace" ... for James)
Gama (Grandma)
Peeez (please)
Teh-too (thank you)
Ssssieu (shoe)
bah (ball)
oh, no!
yeah (usually accompanied by a full-body nod)
die (bye)
baba (bottle)
buk (book)
muh (more)
woof-woof (which is really more like "uff-uff", for dog- and many mammals)
quack-quack (for duck... or frog... or anything non-mammal, really)
twee-twee (for bird)
amen (which sounds something like "tah-beh"- strangely enough)
ah-duh (all done)
dah-dah (tada!)
dee-doo (peek-a-boo)
essieu (bless you... for sneezes or farts, equally... so I've heard...)
She also makes an exhale/hissing sort of noise for dinosaurs and a vroom-vroom kind of sound for cars. :) And when we tell her to say "Love you!" she blows kisses instead. I know... awww!

All in all, I'd say that list is not too shabby for a 15-month old. Don't you think? I guess I don't have to be too worried after all. (Phew!) I do, however, still think that she deserves more one-on-one time. We'll have to work on that.

Oh, a few more tidbits I jotted down while I was thinking of it: Jolie's all-time favorite book is entitled What Shall We Do With the Boo-Hoo Baby? by Cressida Cowell, followed only by Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman. She loves dogs (which is cute, as James loves kitties) and first showed favoritism to a cheap little stuffed doggie that was overlooked in James' stash. She also loves shoes (her pink soft-soled ones in particular) and her "pretties" (necklaces, bling-bling, what-have-you)... and pretty much being a lady! She likes to use my big make-up brush on her face (and tongue, ew), to put on lip gloss and smack her lips, and to get her toenails painted. And her favorite thing in the whole-wide-world (besides daddy, as of late... lucky guy) is her blankie! It's a simple cotton one I made for her, hot pink with black polka dots. I just got a yard of fabric and hemmed it. Easy-peasy. But somehow she fell in love. Now the corners are well loved (aka: gnawed on), and just the sight of Blankie makes her giddy. :)

I love this girl. We all do. She's not just my baby; she's OUR baby (including James'). We love having her in our lives, in our family. She's a darling, sassy, sweet little thing, and we'd never want a world without her in it!

Love you, Jolie Bug!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

FHE: Doing Good & Other Good Things

Tonight's FHE was about Doing Good & Other Good Things. The idea mostly formed when I thought that we should play something fun together, especially since life has been crazy with our house all messed up due to the flood (more on that later... maybe). I just wanted to do something fun, something GOOD. These thoughts somehow lead to my breaking out in song- the 13th Article of Faith song. Hence that direction. It's kind of a longer FHE (not just 30 minutes, with the game, etc, anyway), but I think it's a good one.

Note: I got most of this lesson from this link via I love that site! I get lots of great ideas for teaching Primary from there, too!

Okay, here it is.

Song: "The Thirteenth Article of Faith" (Children's Songbook)

Scripture: "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to
all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." (Article of Faith 1:13)

Discussion 1: Break down the 13th Article of Faith and explain what it means- focusing first on the We believe... in doing good to all men part. Explain/discuss that Heavenly Father has commanded us to love Him and to love others. We show our love for others through our thoughts and actions. One way we show our love is by doing good to others.

Sit in a circle and take turns drawing a slip of paper (on which are written the listed items below). When someone draws a slip, read it and answer the following: What are ways you can do good to others? Tell how you would do good to:
1. A new boy at school.
2. Your mother when she is really tired.
3. An old man that lives next door.
4. Someone you know who is serving a mission.
5. A new Primary teacher.

Activity 1: Play "Spin the Bottle" - saying something you can do that is GOOD when the bottle points to you. (Examples are: help mom do the dishes, play nicely with sister, be honest, help cheer up a sad friend, etc.)

Discussion 2: Explain and discuss the “. . . If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” part of the 13th Article of Faith. Explain that to “seek” means to “look for.” Even when you think you are already doing good things, you can still seek after more things that are good.

Name some things and have the family decide if they are GOOD things. If they are, shout "YES!" or something similar in happy, fun voices. Some examples are:
___ butterflies
___ playing with toys
___ the scriptures
___ reading
___ picnics
___ lying
___ writing in a journal
___ music
___ fighting
___ talking rudely
___ laughing
___ saying naughty words
___ rainbows
___ throwing toys
___ honesty
___ love

Activity 2: Play a GOOD game or similar fun, good activity. (We played with trains together like James had been wanting to do for a few days... The Thomas Game, he called it. You could also go for a walk or something similar.)

Treat: Cherry pie and ice cream (since we didn't end up eating it last time) ... Mmm!

*Image from here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

FHE: Honesty

FHE for 05/15/2011 = Honesty

Tonight's FHE is going to be on Honesty. It's something we're trying to teach James, and something he's struggling with. We're not too concerned with this, believing it to be just part of his normal development. We know that three- and four-year-olds start to develop their imaginations, which is super fun when it comes to playing pretend... but not so fun when it blurs the line between truth and lie. But still, it's something he needs to learn, something we need to teach. When I saw the article in the Friend, I decided to whip up a quick lesson to address this topic.

Song: "I Believe in Being Honest" (Children's Songbook, p. 149... link for sheet music/lyrics here, link for FREE mp3 download(s) here)

Story: "The Catcher's Mitt" by Jane McBride Choate (The Friend magazine, May 2011, pp. 22-23 ... pdf link here)

Activity: Make two paper signs (on construction paper, maybe) for each family member: on one, a happy face and the words "Truth" / on the other, a sad face and the words "Lie." Prepare one set of statements that are true and another set of statements that are not true. Examples: Snow is white. Rain is wet. People need water to live. Salt is sweet. The sun is dark. Ice cream is hot.

Arrange chairs in the middle of the room with one less chair than there are family members. Everyone march around the chairs as you sing “I Believe in Being Honest." When the music stops, say one of the statements and have the person who does not have a chair decide whether the statement is true or a lie, holding up either their Truth or their Lie sign. Repeat multiple times, until everyone gets a turn.

Ask the children what truth is and what it means to be honest. Remind them that we believe in being honest. In the end, discuss that lying is naughty and we don't want to do it, and tear up the Lie sign. Have each family member hold on to their Truth sign to help them remember to always tell the truth.

(Original idea taken from the October 1996 Sharing Time Suggestion, found by me via

Treat: Cherry pie and ice cream! {Update: Make that AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS strawberries and shortcake at Jon & Ash's place! Mmm!} :)

*Photo credit: Matt Smith- (cropped from) here.

FHE: Family Home Evening

What is FHE? defines Family Home Evening (FHE) as "a special time set aside each week that brings family members together and strengthens their love for each other, helps them draw closer to Heavenly Father, and encourages them to live righteously" (link here).

Since Derek and I have been married, we have thought it a good idea to hold Family Home Evening (FHE) every week. We believe in the strength it gives a family and/or a marriage and wanted that strength in our own. Unfortunately, our desire never met with determination (real life and schedules always got in the way), and we've never been very good at it. Recently, however, we watched General Conference and felt inspired to give it another go. Get back on the horse. Try, try again. So we did.

Most people hold FHE on Monday nights. This has never worked for us as I work then, and trying to squeeze it in before work has never been successful. I figured this time around that the actual day didn't matter, but what mattered for us was that we did it- that we provided the opportunity and environment that allowed us to teach our children about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and other important life lessons. So our family has FHE on Sundays. And so far (every Sunday since and including April 3rd- go us!!), it's been a plan that has worked.

In order to keep FHE a positive experience, we try to keep things short and sweet. We generally open with a prayer and song, read a story and/or have a discussion about a topic, follow up with some sort of activity that reinforces the lesson, close with a prayer, and end with a yummy treat. We try hard to keep the lessons at our kids' "level" - as to actually teach them something as well as to hold their attention. Mostly Jolie wanders around the room as we teach James. She's still a little young. But we try to involve her as much as possible, as I believe kids are much smarter than you'd think and can process much more than people expect they can. At the very least (can you call that least??) they can feel the Spirit. And that's probably the best lesson they could learn, anyway. So we try. And so far we've all really enjoyed it.

Why the novel, you ask? Well, I'm explaining all this so that you aren't baffled when I start posting the FHE "lesson plan" each week. I'm putting these out there to 1) help me remember/journal, and 2) give others who may be intimidated by FHE-with-wee-ones some ideas. So be prepared. Comment or don't. And if you're looking for a way to unite your family, strengthen them and/or bring them closer to Christ, give FHE a try. You'll be glad you did!

*Image: Copyright by LDS Clipart and LDS Images in the Clipart Gallery (here).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thoughts on Motherhood

*Note: The following is an excerpt from my journal, written 07 May 2011. I thought perhaps it would be an applicable blog post for this Mother's Day weekend. Mostly I just advocate sharing raw, genuine (not to mention RAMBLING) thought and emotion and therefore do it far too much. Anyway, here ya go...

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I was thinking about this tonight, and I wanted to journal my thoughts. Hopefully someday down the road, my kids will read this and realize (if there were ever any doubts) how I feel about being their mother.

I love it. I feel blessed. I feel honored. I feel tired. :) But I feel happy.

I've always wanted to be a mother. I don't, however, think I fully realized what that really meant until I was one. I wanted a baby, to love and take care of, but I never realized that a baby is a REAL PERSON! That my child would have likes, dislikes, opinions and personality that I had no influence on forming! I think James was a few months old when this realization fully dawned on me. Haha! At first I was just baffled- "What do I do with this??" But now, it makes being a mother that much better! Because now, I know that I didn't just birth a possession... I was given a friend.

Heavenly Father sent me amazing children. They both are so sweet and kind and GOOD! Derek and I talk about this a lot- just how blessed we are to have such good kids. They really are.

James is compassionate and funny and so, so smart. He has a beautiful voice and loves to use it! He's silly. He's imaginative. He's super social, and he's absolutely darling. He's a total boy, and he's a total sweetheart!

Jolie is a total girlie girl (already!). She is snuggly and sweet. She loves to play and is so silly. She already has a sense of humor and also loves music (dancing and "singing" all the time). She absolutely idolizes her brother (could be because they have so much in common- this just realized, haha). She's adorable! We really quite adore her.

Granted, they're not perfect angels all the time (and some days not at all). They both can be little stinkers sometimes. But really, we just know how fantastic they are and have set the bar pretty high. (Also, I likes me a bit of sass! Sh! Tell no one!)

Above all, we love them. I love them. With all of my heart- and more, that I never even knew existed until they came into my life. I cannot even express how much I adore them and how grateful I am to have them in my life. I love being a mother. I love being theirs.

People say that parenting isn't rewarding (or that the rewards don't come until years down the road), but they're full of crap. There is nothing more rewarding than when James brings me a pretty dandelion that he picked outside (or an enormous armful of them- silly boy!). Or when Jolie climbs onto my lap and gives me a slimy little smooch. Or when one of them is owie and only Mommy's kisses will cure their ails. :) I love seeing their pride and self-satisfaction when they succeed at something hard. I love seeing them treat one another with kindness, friendship and love. I love seeing how much they love Daddy, and knowing how much they love me.

And I do know.

How much more reward can a person ask for than that??

I love these babies, and I will love them when they're grown. Our family is eternal, and nothing makes me happier!

*Photography courtesy of Li - a la Photography by Li