Monday, October 25, 2010

Big Boy Bed

I think the pictures say it all. Henry is so happy to finally be out of the crib and have a big boy bed!
Sorry it took your parents forever to decide, Henry! =)

*The bed we finally picked is an extend-able one from Ikea. It starts out this length then has one other length and then all the way out to a twin. The mattress comes in three pieces to work with the lengths. So hopefully this will last Henry for quite a while.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mothers Without Borders

Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Kathy Headlee speak to our ward relief society and speak with her after wards.
She is the founder of Women Without Borders, an international organization that offers hope and help in a holistic way to orphaned children throughout the world. Her work has taken her to Romania, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other places throughout the world.
Now, I have always wanted to be able to help "make a difference" as we commonly say about going out into society and trying to make it a better place. I sat through the presentation and was touched but at the same time I thought to myself, "But I can't really do anything. I have a husband in school and a two year old to take care of. I can't up and go over to Zambia and I'm no Daddy Warbucks either."
I have gotten to a place where I generally refuse to let myself feel too much emotional about these presentations that talk about all the hard, horrible things going on in developing countries because it rends my heart to think I do not have a solution in the least degree and I know if I dwell on it, no good seems to come from it. This however was to be a bit of a different experience. Two things she said during the presentation that I want to mention:
-Seek to be aware of the defining moments in your life.
-Pay attention to what gets your attention. What do find yourself drawn to in the news and in life."The Worth of s Soul" by Liz Lemon Swindle. Kathy's husband was actually the model for the painting and Liz Lemon Swindle went out to Zambia to do this painting.

Well after the presentation I got up and just stood and stretched a minute, said hello to a few people and then suddenly she was at my left side and apparently right where I was turned into the meet and greet. So I listened quietly as people came up to talk to her and tell her thank you, ask about the program and about her. She stood closely next to me the entire time and I thought, "well, don't you have anything intelligent to say to her, Deborah?" Nope. So as silence fell from the last person who had engaged her in conversation I fumbled asked about the educating they're doing over there in the schools. I was asked a bit about the main challenges of education in the remote villages, who the teachers were etc.
More disarming than anything else was just how incredibly sincerely simple she was about the whole thing and about conversing with me. Once I stopped freaking out about trying to talk on her level so to speak, I had a very sweet conversation with her and she said some things I definitely needed to hear.
One of the things she said that I am grateful for is that she realizes that the Lord loves and cares about a little child in Provo just as much as one in Zambia and the reverse is true. There are things we can do here and now. She talked about how she use to take her children to shelters for battered women and children and throw the children there birthday parties. She said she was always just looking for service she and her children could provide.
When she first decided to do an international project people thought she was crazy. As she continues to do work people will ask her about her qualifications and she just raises her shoulders, half smiles and says, "I was a mom."
I just love her and hope anyone that has any time or means to volunteer will look into it and remember also the changes you can make here. She told me, "Its all about your relationship with Him and learning yours talents and skills. I was 'just a mom' with no college degree, my life didn't go that way and I needed to learn from him what my talents were and what I could do. I also had to learn, and its taken years, to really trust Him. Some people thought I was crazy. But I knew, even though I would fight some things for months, that I had to do it. I still get into situations where I have no previous knowledge of what to do and I just have to trust. Keep an open heart, keep pouring out your desires and you will learn." Let me just say it again-I just love her. Wonderful, wonderful woman.
I came home and Johann and I talked about what we can do to start serving more in the community. We have an idea and hopefully I'll be able to post about that soon t00. =)

Paci update

The paci is gone! Weehoo. The first week or so after we took it away he would ask every time he laid down, "Wheres the blue paci?" and we would tell him we gave it to a baby since he is a big boy and didn't need it. That seemed to do it most of the time, "Oh yeah, a baby." haha. For a while I was afraid he'd accost any little baby he saw with a blue paci, but he didn't. Phew.
In the past few weeks he has mentioned it only a few times, if even that. Mostly his comfort now is the tag on his "soft blanket". Its nice to be done with the paci. Good job Henry! =)

"Oh Boy!"

Earlier this month, Johann and I came across program called, "Oh Boy! Raising Boys." Considering we had just had two weeks of Henry having nursery issues we were tuned in immediately. Here is a snippet of what the show was about:

Boys' imaginations can take them from a backyard to a battlefield where they will pretend to be heroes or villains as they rescue and conquer - and all before lunch. And yet many parents worry, wondering if their sons are simply normal, active boys, or turning into potentially violent men. Chuck and Deborah Hart of Littleton, Colorado, have four active boys. From breakfast to bedtime, these parents are on their feet, running after lively children. In this episode, we'll look at this family's well-studied approach to raising boys and talk to educators and experts who believe that society needs to have a new heart for boys.

Every single day for the past, oh I dunno, 18 months I have asked myself about Henry and his level of activity. Even when he was 6 months old we would hear from babysitters, "Wow, he is,uh, you know-active!"
Sometimes it is hard for me to accept this stage (apparently a very long stage since he is a boy) of needing to express and experience things physically. I am trying really hard to be as kind about his mistakes as I am about other kid's but for some reason we always expect our kids to not react when their toy is stolen and to not hit when their upset even if other kids do. I guess I need to realize that is a lot of pressure for a 2 year old; not that it negates him needing to be taught and given consequences, but it also doesn't mean he is some mutant demon child. =)
Anywho. Some of the interesting things the program said that I have been wondering about, though I am not convinced in all areas:
-Boys inherently want to compete. If you don't provide it, they'll find it. Who can eat their cereal the fastest, who can throw this rock the furthest, who can burp the loudest, etc.
-There is an all boys' high school where they use teaching techniques that make it easier for boys to learn like, more tactile teaching (shooting hoops to answer a question), brighter lighting (apparently their sight isn't as good?) louder speaking while teaching (hearing issues apparently?) and classroom arrangements are more organic and less structured. Supposedly all the teaching techniques that cater to boys' way of learning in no way negatively affects female students learning.
-The way the education system is structured puts boys at a great risk for failure, not because of lack of ability but because of the way it forces them to learn against their natural inclinations.
-Boys energy and physicality used to be of great value in society but now our society is dominated by more domestic concerns, duties and physical prowess and work outside of a sport is valued much less. Hence boys are seen as having attributes too far outside what society wants and are seen as unruly and too physical.

One of the things the mom of the four boys said was that has stopped questioning what her boys think is fun and just learning to go with it, ie-throwing sticks into the ground, rocks into the pond etc. I think that is something I need to work on and allow Henry to just be the little boy he is and not try to reign in things are aren't harmful but just nonsensical to me. Here's to raising a little boy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goals check part 3

Well, the end of the year rapidly approaches. I thought it would be a good time to do a final goals check. So here goes:

1. Complete Henry's 1 year memory book
Still a check. yay.

2. Make 72 hour kits for the family
Wow, I completely forgot I even had this goal. Whoops. Alright, better get on this, pronto.

3. Hold weekly family home evenings and plan them a month in advance
Checkedy check. I have had to do some adjusting so that everyone can benefit, which mostly means making lessons no more than five minuets and doing more activities with the lesson, but I think overall it is going pretty well. I haven't planned the exact lessons a month in advance each, but we have a schedule, like First Presidency message the first Monday, from the Friend the second, etc and it works out pretty well.

4. Get second blog up and running As for last post was in July. Whoops. I really should make more of an effort to write on there about whatever I am reading, studying, watching.

5. Forget all my stupid and embarrassing moments in the past; sans the ones that make me laugh rather than cringe
For the most part. Still working on it.

6. Attend the Temple as a couple monthly
Except for February, yes. And I have been able to go by myself a bit AND take some family names which has been wonderful. One of the times I was able to go, the worker who ended up being there for me was one of my long time friends from Apple Valley with whom I lose touch on and off. Hearing blessings pronounced by someone you love is definitely a tender mercy of the Lord and I am still so grateful for that and all the other experiences I have been able to have as I continue to make an effort to go to the temple.
I think if I had more time I could really get caught up in family history, but for now, the little I can do will have to suffice. It was great getting to take a couple I got off of newfamilysearch for the first time to be sealed. Nettie and Melvin Frederick. The workers were so kind and had me stamp the card myself too. =)

7. Go to ward activities
We went to an ice cream social one Sunday (but mostly because the couple we had dinner with was going and coaxed us along-THANKS!) and I went to a relief society week day meeting. Does that count? 1/4 check.

8. Learn the new family search
YAY! I am no pro but I can get names, find name, print ordinance requests etc. So thanks to my mom's friend, Karen, I can say check to this goal now. Woot!

9. Read through the standard works
Still working through the Old Testament, as you can imagine. Book of Mormon and New Testament finished. I just finished Proverbs so I am getting closer and if I keep reading at the same pace I'll finish around the beginning of November so I'll have time to start and finish the Doctrine and Covenants.
One thing I didn't expect to happen while reading the Old Testament is the fullness of feeling I have when reading books like Ruth and Hosea. Those books just envelope my soul with the messages and especially in Hosea, the language. "Calves of our lips" has become a phrase I can't help but think about when I am in the temple or partaking of the sacrament. Its so beautiful. And Ruth-with the imagery and allusion to everything that plays out in the rest of the Old Testament and prophesying what will come after, Ruth and her incredible faith, the sureness of the promises of the Lord-Ruth ties together the Old Testament for me.
There is so much power in the Old Testament and I am so happy to be discovering at least a portion of it. Next my goal will be to somehow obtain a great commentary for the Old Testament like Keil and Delitzsch and go through the Old Testament that way. Man, that would take a looooong time but I think it would be well worth it.

10. Accept help
I think this one is going well. I hate asking for people to watch Henry but I am happy to report we have had help from three different couples who aren't technically family with this since we've gotten back to Provo and I am very, very grateful to them.

11. Take a family portrait
We were planning on mid October but now we'll have to see about the weather. I know we will be doing family pictures on my side during Thanksgiving since my brother will be back from his mission-wee-so maybe I can have a shot or two of just our family and count that if mid-October doesn't work out due to rain or scheduling. Both would be best, but either way, right?

12. Read 15 novels from master book list and 5 scholarly texts
One scholarly text and five novels to go. I am kind of cheating here because I am counting a book my mom had me read as a scholarly text because I could see someone having it read in a womens history class. What our mothers didn't tell us: Why happiness elude the modern woman by Danielle Crittenden. I have a post about it here. I wouldn't call the book in and of itself scholarly but the study of it maybe I could, so I'm counting it. ha. I am also counting Flora Thompson's trilogy Lark Rise to Candleford as three though all together it only boasts about 550 pages. So am I cheating a bit at the end here-yes. Yes I am.
Lark Rise is a beautiful read, very informal. It is like listening to a relative talking about their upbringing. It isn't overly sentimental and really presents what appears to be a candid but still kind recollection of Thompson's upbringing. I would certainly recommend it. And if you haven't seen the PBS series based on the book, by the same name, you really, really should. The characters are incredible and the show is the cleanest thing I've seen on tv in forever!
Lastly I read The Princess de Cleves mostly because we were suppose to read it for one of my classes and I was only able to skim it and it is short. I appreciate it for all the different reasons we talked about in class but man, I am glad I didn't live as a french noblewoman in Henri II's court.
So now I am going to read Steinbeck's The Pearl, again, length considerations. After that I am thinking one other novel, not sure which and then I'll read Dicken's A Christmas Carol, The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth to be in the Christmas spirit. And that should do it my friends. Oh and one more scholarly text...hmm, any recommendations? Remember length is a big consideration at this point too.

13. Clean up no more than twice a day (minus the kitchen, my OCD just won't allow that to stay dirty for very long quite yet).
I think I'm getting better, especially with cleaning up toys. I try really hard not to touch Henry's toy messes until just before nap and bed and he has to help. Now I am trying to teach him that when one thing comes out, it has to be put away before he starts in with another toy. It is a slow process but he isn't too messy on his own so hopefully we'll get it all together soon.

PHEW. That was a lot. I think I might reach most of my goals this year. yay!