Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Riding" his bike

Here are a couple of videos featuring Dean with his new balance bike. I would have mashed them together in photobucket, but they took away video editing! Arg.

This morning when he woke up, the first thing he said was, "Arm better! Ride bike." And he did. He rode it right through the living room where Grandma was sleeping and even rang his bell a couple of times for good measure. He kept running back and forth between all of his new toys. It felt like Christmas. It was fun to see him so excited for his own toys.
video video

Friday, October 23, 2009

The big 2

Dean is 2 years old today.

Grandma Bras(s) has been here since Wednesday, and we've loved having her here to help us celebrate. We didn't do anything with friends this year since he still doesn't quite get the concept of friends (he mainly just wants to go play with people's toys at their houses), so it was just us. We were glad to have her here.



We had our ups and downs today, but overall it was a fun day. This morning I was swinging him around and somehow hurt his wrist. He was crying and whining about it for a little while before I really believed it was really hurt. Daddy rigged him up a sling and iced it for a couple hours (He stayed in one place on the couch for about 2 hours which is a SURE sign he was hurting. He never stays still.) When I gave him lunch on the couch he said, "arm better!" and took off the sling.



After his nap we opened up presents. He got a good load! The big present from us was his balance bike. I've been going back and forth about what kind of wheeled item to get him. He loves, loves, loves anything with wheels and has been begging for a bike for a couple of months. I first considered a trike, push car, plasma car and scooter. I ran across a balance bike as I was searching out trikes. It's a little light weight 2 wheeled bike that has no pedals. It's for kids appox. 2-5 yrs. He was a little short for it, but we took off the seat and he was able to walk around with it. You start out walking it, then push, then glide, etc. as your balance gets better. It's a European concept and it seems like a much better system than tricycles and training wheels. He loved it. He got other cool presents like an awesome train set from G&G Bras(s), daddy's old tool set (that was in pristine condition), play dough, a cool shirt from the "Thteed" cousins, some new construction trucks, etc.



After presents came the cake. I am by no means a cake decorator, but I've had this construction cake in my mind a couple of weeks. I made a chocolate cake and some peanut butter frosting from scratch. I used peanut butter cups and oreos for rocks and dirt mounds and bought some new construction trucks. He really liked it and I loved that he drove the trucks all over the cake. He even used the digger truck to dig him up and feed him some cake. That was super cute.




After cake we went to Celebration Park. It's a bit of a drive since it's in the next town over, but I think it was well worth it. I want to go back tomorrow. Dean loved it.




We had hamburgers and fries at Scotty P's for dinner. As we were leaving, he tried to escape from holding my hand in the parking lot and hurt his wrist again. I felt so terrible and sad for him. It didn't stop him from trying to play with "Old daddy's tools" when we got home! He also wanted to play with his balance bike and even said, "arm better!" to try and con us into letting him.



All in all it was a good day. Happy Birthday my little Dean!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rejuvinated and redeemed

I am very thankful that I'm feeling back to normal today. The last couple of days I've felt 2 1/2 parts crazy to 1/2 part sane. My "normal" is probably 2 1/2 parts sane to 1/2 part crazy, so I was really thrown for a loop. I don't know if it was postpartum hormonal issues, lack of sleep, or both, but man. I felt like I was living in crazy land in my head. I couldn't even get myself to make dinner the last two nights!

But today I felt much better when I woke up. I made some delicious blueberry muffins for breakfast (recipe soon to come to my other blog); I did the big "restock" shopping trip I've been putting off since I had Walt; I rearranged a couple cupboards to accommodate for the new food; I'm close to finishing up folding a mountain of laundry; I cleaned Dean's bathroom; I made a great dinner (mini meatloaves, garlic and rosemary mashed potatoes, sauteed zucchini and mushrooms) ; I had an enjoyable day with my boys. I still need to do dinner dishes and put away said clothes, but all in all it's been a much, much better day.

Now for my redemption. I once confessed that meatloaf is one of those foods I just can't ever get right. Well I got it right tonight! I am convinced that I was just trying a whole lot of crappy recipes because this one was easy and DELICIOUS! It's slightly more time consuming than regular meatloaf, but the extra step is well worth it. I followed the recipe exactly (well, as exactly as I can which is not exactly exactly, but pretty darned close.) This is a keeper for sure. Matt liked it and said he'll even take it in his lunch tomorrow as a leftover. The consistency was great. The taste was great. Dean ate it really well. I am redeemed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Please just be lack of sleep...

My emotions were all over the place tonight. You know when you're about to cry for no good reason, and you know that there's no reason to cry, but you can't stop yourself?? Yeah. That was me. I've have especially horrible sleep this past week, though. Three days of insomnia where I couldn't go to sleep before 2 AM (ish) plus having to get up and nurse after I do fall asleep. I haven't really been able to take naps either. So, I'm really, really hoping my off the wall emotions are just from lack of sleep (and exercise...I really need a double stroller pronto!) and that it's not an indication that I'm going to start my period. I am not ready for that yet!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Potty Talk

Final (for now) decision on cloth diapers:
I really liked the Gro-baby diapers a lot. Way better than any other diaper we've tried yet. Dean likes them. I use the 4 we have at least every other day because he wants "the orange diaper". However, I have decided to stick mainly to disposables. I have gone back and forth and back and forth. The clincher was when I needed Matt to change Dean when he was in a cloth and was like "what the heck am I supposed to do with this?" It was only a pee diaper too. I can't imagine if it had been poo. So, I know I can't change every diaper for the rest of our diapered children's lives, and I know that Matt's not for it at all. So, it's a no go for now and probably forever. If my husband was even slightly supportive of the idea, I'd probably go for it. With the diaper sprayer I don't think it'd be that big of a deal at all, just so you know.

As for potty training:
Well, Dean's really upped his request to go potty recently. This past week he started asking to go in public. At Target on Friday we made a bathroom trip twice. At the ward chili dinner he asked to go once. At church...well, he went 3 times during sacrament meeting and 5 times during nursery! (Always a little tiny bit of pee, never yet poo in public.)

Then when we got home from church I was trying to get him to go down for a late nap, but he kept telling me he needed to go "pee-pee, poo-poo". I'd take his diaper off, he'd pee a little bit, cheer, say he was all done, and wash his hands. Then I'd put his diaper back on just to have him immediately tell me "pee-pee, poo-poo!" He did this maybe 5 times. It was very frustrating, because I think he was mainly stalling so he didn't have to go to bed. (This process took about 1/2 hour! We did, in fact, end up canceling his nap and put him to bed an hour early tonight.) He always was able to squeeze a little out, and I was afraid not to let him go. While he's successfully gone poo on the potty a number of times, he generally still goes in his diaper.

I'm amazed at his willingness and desire to try and go on the potty so young (not yet 2!). He's still not yet able to pull down his own pants (unless it's really elasticky or loose). We tried pull-ups, and honestly, I don't think it's any easier or better than using a diaper. He doesn't like how they fit either. I might try buying underware sometime realively soon and just going for it. (Birthday present maybe...) Not yet for night time. I'll put him in a diaper at night for a while I think.

Apostasy and Restoration: Svithing* my talk

*Svithe is a word my brother-in-law coined. Svithe is a portmanteau made by combining seven and tithe--the idea being that one day in the week, this blogger devotes himself to what he hopes is a higher sort of something.

Earlier this week I was asked to give a talk in church today on the apostasy and restoration and to focus on Daniel 2 and how King Nebuchadnezzar's dream related to the latter-day kingdom of God. As I was writing my talk I had WAY more info. than I needed, so it was hard to wheedle it down to this. I love, love, love giving talks because it motivates me to research a topic in depth and really come to understand a gospel principle better. This ended up being a little more "removed" (not as many personal applications) than my talks usually are, but I think that's how the spirit steered me. I tried to document my sources, but I may have missed one here or there.

King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

Around 600 BC Lehi prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed. He then took his family and crossed the ocean to the Promised Land and began writing what we call now the Book of Mormon. It was only a few years after their departure that Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylonia devastated Jerusalem. Among those taken was an intelligent and God fearing teenager named Daniel. As Daniel served in the King’s palace, he remained faithful to God and was able to win the favor of the court.


Shortly after Daniel’s arrival in Babylonia, King Nebuchadnezzar was plagued with a reoccurring dream. Because he was unable to remember what actually happened in his dream, “the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king." He was furious when they were unable to fulfill his request and he commanded that all the wise men of his court, which included Daniel, be killed. Daniel petitioned for his life and the lives of his Hebrew friends Shadrac, Mishac and Abednego and asked that they be spared if he told the King his dream and the interpretation. The King agreed and Daniel later gave this account and interpretation that was revealed to him by the Lord:


In the dream the King saw a magnificent statue of a man. The head was made of gold, the chest and arms were silver, the belly and thighs were brass, his legs were of iron, and his feet were a mixture of iron and clay. [2] He then saw a stone cut out of a mountain that “smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces…And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. ” [3]


“The dream revealed events that would take place over a long span of time.”[4]The different body parts represented world governments. The Lord revealed to Daniel that the head of Gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. History has shown us that “the Medes and Persians, an inferior kingdom to Babylon, were the arms and breast of silver. The Macedonian kingdom, under Alexander the Great, was the belly and thighs of brass; and the Roman kingdom under the Caesars was the legs of iron.” The legs were divided just as the Roman Empire was divided. “Elder Orson Pratt, in explaining why the toes were shown as being partly iron and partly clay, said that ‘the feet and toes were governments more modern to grow out of the iron kingdom [Roman Empire], after it should lose its strength.’”[5] President Kimball further explained, “Rome would be replaced by a group of nations of Europe represented by the toes of the image…And in the days of these kings [that is, the group of European nations] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed . . . This is a revelation concerning the history of the world, when one world power would supersede another until there would be numerous smaller kingdoms to share the control of the earth. And it was in the days of these kings that power would not be given to men, but the God of heaven would set up a kingdom—the kingdom of God upon the earth, which should never be destroyed nor left to other people.” [6] The stone in the dream ended up smashing the toes, or the latter-day European governments and it grew into a large mountain filling the whole earth. It was the final kingdom, which would never be destroyed or overcome. This final kingdom was not set up by men, for it originated from a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, or by the will of God.


Apostacy and Restoration

During Christ’s mortal ministry, He established the kingdom of God on the earth. He organized the church and “sent His disciples into the world to preach His gospel.”[7] After His crucifixion the Apostles maintained the church, but after a time most of them were killed and many of the truths and teachings of Christ were altered or lost. This period of time is known as the Great Apostasy. As Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “This Great Apostasy followed the pattern that had ended each previous dispensation. The very first was in the time of Adam. Then came dispensations of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others. Each prophet had a divine commission to teach of the divinity and the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. In each age these teachings were meant to help the people. But their disobedience resulted in apostasy… Thus a complete restoration was required. God the Father and Jesus Christ called upon the Prophet Joseph Smith to be the prophet of this dispensation. All divine powers of previous dispensations were to be restored through him…It would not end in apostasy, and it would fill the world.”[8]


Latter-day Kingdom of God

As a 14-year-old boy, Joseph Smith desired nothing more than to know the truth concerning God and what church was correct. He wasn’t seeking to set up a new church. He wasn’t looking for worldly fame or recognition. He merely wanted to do what was right and know what the Lord wanted him to do. So he asked a simple prayer. He, however, received no simple answer. That day he felt the awful power of Satan as well as saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the flesh. They told that no church currently on earth was correct and forbid him to join any of them.

The restoration of Christ’s church did not happen that day. Rather, it was a series of events and heavenly manifestations over the course of years. Concerning the restoration, Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “That lost authority could not just be repossessed. It had to be restored by those who held the keys of authority anciently. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a remodeled version of another church. It is not an adjustment or a correction or a protest against any other church.”[9]


In the October General Conference of 2007 President Gordon B. Hinkley noted the amazing growth that has taken place in relatively short period of time. “Now, as we look back 177 years to the organization of the Church, we marvel at what has already happened. When the Church was organized in 1830 there were but six members, only a handful of believers, all residing in a largely unknown village. Today, we have become the fourth or fifth largest church in North America, with congregations in every city of any consequence. Stakes of Zion today flourish in every state of the United States, in every province of Canada, in every state of Mexico, in every nation of Central America and throughout South America.” Truly this is the stone cut out of the mountain that King Nebuchadnezzar saw over 2500 years ago.


But what was it, exactly, that was taken away and restored? What do we possess as a church that makes us the latter-day kingdom God? The authority to act in God’s name. The Aaronic and Melchizidek priesthoods had to be and were restored to Joseph by John the Baptist and the ancient apostles Peter, James and John. With that restored authority, Joseph was able to organize the church as Christ’s church was organized as noted in Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some apostles, prophets, pastors [also known as bishops], Teachers, [and] Evangelists [also known as Patriarchs].” The restored priesthood authority also enables us to properly perform baptisms, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and receive the ordinances of the Temple and further knowledge that are required to gain exaltation. Because of the restoration of the gospel, I have had the opportunity to be sealed in God’s Temple, by men who hold His Priesthood and authority, for time and all eternity to my husband Matt and my two sons Dean and Walter as well as any future children we may have. What a blessing and comfort that is!


The restoration of the gospel set up this latter-day Kingdom of God that will never be overthrown. But why? And what does that me to me? President Ezra Taft Benson firmly stated, “We solemnly declare again that the God of heaven has established his latter-day kingdom upon the earth in fulfillment of prophecies. Holy angels have again communed with men on the earth. God has again revealed himself from heaven and restored to the earth his holy priesthood with power to administer in all the sacred ordinances necessary for the exaltation of his children. His church has been reestablished among men with all the spiritual gifts enjoyed anciently. All this is done in preparation for Christ’s second coming. The great and dreadful day of the Lord is near at hand.” We, brothers and sisters, are here to prepare ourselves for and warn others that Christ’s second coming not far off.


In 1845, the Quorum of the Twelve issued an epistle to the heads of state in the world. I quote from one paragraph:


“As this work progresses in its onward course, and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interest and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject, no community or individual, will stand neutral. All will at length be influenced by one spirit or the other; and will take sides either for or against the kingdom of God” (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 1:257).



That time is now. We only have to turn on our TVs, cell phones, or computers to see how morally corrupt the world has become. Pornography, infidelity and immorality are seen as commonplace and “normal” behavior. Our youth and members are often ridiculed for being “uptight” or “goodie-goodies” because we don’t participate in such behavior. Elder Boyd K. Packer made a frightening statement concerning the perilous time we currently live in. He said, “I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now.”[10] No, brothers and sisters, we, as latter-day saints, cannot stand neutral in the moral arena. As Sister Barbara Thompson of the General Relief Society said this past conference, we need to mind “the gap between believing in Jesus Christ and being valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ.”[11] Are we, as Elder Bednar admonished last Saturday, bearing our testimony and consistently living it? [12] “Who’s on the Lord’s side who? Now is the time to show.”


Luckily for us, if we choose to follow the restored gospel, the Lord is on our side. Yes we live in a perilous and wicked time, but as we stand together as brothers and sisters and with God, we are strengthened in our unity. Elder James J. Hamula Of the Seventy noted, “To ensure its ultimate success, the final restoration of God’s kingdom has been commenced with unprecedented spiritual power and is being sustained by that same spiritual power and something more. Reserved to come forth in these last days and labor for our Father and His Son are some of the most valiant and noble of our Father’s sons and daughters. Their valiance and nobility were demonstrated in the pre-earth struggle with Satan. There, “being left to choose good or evil,” they “[chose] good” and exhibited “exceedingly great faith” and “good works.” Such are the traits that are now needed to sustain the work of God in the earth and to save the souls of men from the intensifying wrath of the adversary.”[13]


Because of the restoration I know that there is a purpose to this life. I know that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and has made it possible for me to overcome my weaknesses through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is an inspired text that testifies of the divinity of Jesus Christ and contains the fullness of His gospel. I know that Christ restored His church through His Prophet Joseph Smith. The 15 men who succeeded Joseph as Presidents of the church, including our Prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson, are and were men of God. What they say we need to hear and do. The Kingdom of the Lord is on the earth today and will never be overthrown. I know that we will find comfort and peace in the gospel if we truly live it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



[1] Daniel 2:2



[2] Daniel 2:31-33



[3] Daniel 2:34-35



[4] O.T. Institute manual


[5] Journal of Discourses, 18:337


[6] In Conference Report, Apr. 1976, p. 10


[7] Russell M. Nelson, “The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” Liahona, Nov 2006, 79–82


[8] Russell M. Nelson, “The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” Liahona, Nov 2006, 79–82


[9] Boyd K. Packer, “‘The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected’,” Liahona, Nov 2003, 24–27


[10] Boyd K. Packer, “The One Pure Defense” (address to CES religious educators, Feb. 6, 2004), 4 as quoted in James J. Hamula, “Winning the War against Evil,” Liahona, Nov 2008, 50–53


[11] http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1117-38,00.html


[12] http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1117-6,00.html


[13] James J. Hamula, “Winning the War against Evil,” Liahona, Nov 2008, 50–53



Thursday, October 08, 2009

My smart guy

I love my little guy. I'm happy to be his mom.

As I mentioned in the last post, my parenting books came. I'm simultaneously reading "1-2-3 Magic" and "Parenting with Love and Logic". Both are very good so far. I started using the 1-2-3 method today (I felt it would work better with a younger person than the "uh-oh song" in Love and Logic, plus I felt I could easily remember it since I'm re-training myself!) and it was a fabulous day. I feel much better about this "time out" situation than what I was doing previously.

If he misbehaves I say, "that's 1" (with no emotion and no lecture). I wait 5 seconds and if he stops, I stop. If he continues misbehaving I say, "that's 2". If he stops, I stop and we continue doing what we were doing. If he continues misbehaving I say, "that's 3. take 5." and I take him to his room and shut the door. I am perfectly content with him playing in his room with his toys. The time out is mostly to cool down and be removed from the negative situation. Now, you're supposed to leave him in there for 5 min., but I just held the door for a min. to make sure he didn't try and get out immediately (he tried to every time) and left. When he came out on his own (usually about after 2 min. total of being in, which is fine with me), he was very apologetic (on his own) every time. I didn't discuss his wrong doing or give him any lectures. I just happily welcomed him to participate in whatever I was doing at the moment. I saw significant improvement and he did not repeat many of the behaviors that he got put into "time out" for after he went to his room. It seems so simple yet I felt much more in control of myself, and he seemed more in control of himself. Magic I tell you.

We also started the bed transition today. He's been asking to sleep in the toddler bed the last couple of days. I tried twice this week and he came out both times and I put him in his crib as a result. Today I told him (well, actually he told me) that if he came out even once he'd go into his crib for nap. Well, he didn't come out once! I heard him talk and sing abcs and play with toys for about 30-40 min., but then came the quiet. I don't know if he slept on the bed or floor (though I think it was bed). He slept about 40 min. and when I heard him talking again, I went to let him out. The door was locked. haha. I knocked on the door, he unlocked it, and went back to sit on his bed! His room was a little more disheveled than when I left, and his bed had acquired a couple shoes and books, but all was well.

We had a great day together. This week has been really busy so we didn't go anywhere today. As a result I took a few more videos for your viewing pleasure.

Here he tries to count to 20. It's pretty much down hill after 13, but I think it's a pretty darned good effort for my not quite 2 year old.
video

Here he helps me read "I can do it myself". This is mostly for adoring grandparents since it is kind of long (2:12)...

video

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

If the government was a parent...

...they'd be a pretty crappy one.

My parenting books I ordered came today and I just had to laugh at a particular paragraph out of Parenting with Love and Logic.

"The irony is that helicopter parents are often viewed by others as model parents. They feel uncomfortable imposing consequences. When they see their children hurting, they hurt too, so they bail them out. But the real world does not run on the bail-out principle. Traffic tickets, overdue bills, irresponsible people, crippling diseases, taxes--these and other normal events of adult life usually do not disappear because a loving benefactor bails us out. Helicopter parents fail to prepare their kids to meet that kind of world."

HA! The authors couldn't have forseen the ridiculous bail outs that came with this new administration...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

All you need is LOVE (all together now)

I love General Conference weekend. It's a whole lot of sitting-in-one-room-trying-to-entertain-a-two-year-old-while-simultaneously-listening, but it was worth it. I love that we can watch it from home even though they don't broadcast it here on TV or radio. Gotta love the internet.

My main goal was to listen for themes and remember talks to watch on my own. The theme that stuck out to me most was the great need for LOVE. Two talks that I revisited already are Elder Bednar's and President Uctdorff's from Saturday morning. There are a few more that I'll go back to: President Monson on Sunday morning about doing something good today and Elder Christofferson and Elder Cook in the afternoon.

So after rewatching Bednar and Uctdorff's talks here are my notes and thoughts:
Elder Bednar More diligent and concerned at home:
  1. Tell people we love that we love them. “What we know is not always reflected in what we do…as disciples of the Savior we are not merely striving to know more. Rather, we need to consistently do more of what we know is right and become better.” Say it, mean it, and consistently show it. Express and demonstrate love. We will never regret kind words. “Our love for spouse, parents and children is reflected most powerfully in our thoughts, in our words, and our deeds. Such love nurtures and sustains faith in God.” It is the desire of every human.
  2. Bear testimony and live it. It need not be lengthy or eloquent. Shouldn’t be restricted to fast Sunday. When was the last time you bore your testimony to your spouse or children or parents? “Bearing a heartfelt testimony is only a beginning. We need to bear it. We need to mean it. But most importantly we need consistently to live it. Create and look for opportunities to share our testimonies. Testimony generates light in a world of darkness.
  3. Be consistent. Family prayer, scripture study and FHE. The consistency of "the little things" is perhaps the greatest lesson our children will learn. Each family prayer, episode of scripture study and FHE is an individual brush stroke that by itself may seem insignificant, but together creates a great masterpiece. Many of the savior’s harshest rebukes were directed at hypocrites. Express love and SHOW it. Bear testimony and LIVE it. And be consistent. Children are often the most alert and sensitive to your hypocrisy. It weakens the foundation of a great work. Thou shalt not bear false witness can mean to not be hypocritical. Be more faithful in learning, living, and loving the gospel of Christ.
My thoughts:
Love really needs to be at the center of everything I do, but most importantly, everything I do as a parent, including discipline. I need to not yell out of anger. Will my kids do things they shouldn't? Yes, but my response always needs to be motivated out of love for them and a desire for them to really understand how their behavior affects themselves and others.

Live my testimony! Very good reminder. It calls for me to scrutinize my day to day actions. How do I spend my time? What do I seek after? What unimportant things do I waste my time on and what important things am I leaving out? This reminds me of Sister Thompson's talk from RS conference last week. Bridge the gap between what we believe and how we live. I need to start building that bridge piece by piece. One step at a time.

We really need to be more consistent in our FHE. We read a scripture and pray as a family at bed time, but those could be improved upon also. Also, I need to find something in the way of discipline that we can agree on and be consistent. Kids are great at finding loopholes and inconsistencies and exploiting them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
President Uchtdorf Becoming Disciples of Christ:
Of all the things we want to be known for, we want to be known as disciples of Christ.
How do we become true Disciples of Christ?
  • "If you love me, keep my commandments." This is the essence of being a disciple of Christ.
  • "Thou shalt love the Lord." This is the first great commandment. The Second is that we must "love our neighbors as ourselves". Because love is the great commandment it ought to be at the center of every thing we do in our families, church callings, and our work. Love is the healing balm that helps repair rifts in our personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love should be our walk and our talk. When we love God, obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden. His power and glory is not diminished when we do not love him. He doesn’t need us to love Him, but oh how we need to love God. What we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are and who we will become. We are God’s children. We have a vast capacity for love. It is our divine heritage. At the heart of joy you will find the love of good things.
  • The greatest of all good things is God. We love Him because He first loved us. Regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our sorrow or mistakes, God desires we draw near to Him so He can draw near to us. How can we draw nearer to God? Search for Him. That’s more than offering a simple prayer or proclaiming that we love or know him. We must keep His commandments. We increase our love and demonstrate our love by aligning our thoughts and actions with Him. Don’t do it out of fear or obligation but out of an earnest desire to become more like Him and because of our love for Him.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. Choose to listen to the Father and DO the things he asks of us. Try and keep on trying till that which seems difficult becomes possible and that which seems only possible becomes a habit and part of you.
  • Listen for his voice! As you study, as you attend the temple, in nature, in your daily interaction with others, in the words of a child…listen for his voice. If you listen, he will lead you on a course to become disciples and more holy. It will lead us out of darkness and into light.
My thoughts:
God is love. As we approach Him we will understand and feel His love more fully and we will be able to share that love more freely. As a parent I need to first learn God's doctrine, study my scriptures more diligently, pray more fervently, and then listen. (As a friend reminded me this week, Elder Boyd K. Packer said in another talk, "The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.")

He will guide me and help me discern my kids' needs. I just have to have faith that He will help me. I am not on my own. I can study books about behavior and try and implement techniques and tricks, but I will be most successful as a parent if I have the holy ghost as a companion to guide and direct. The other things merely supplement. Changing my behavior (and more importantly my heart) may be hard. I may stumble and make mistakes, but as I try and keep on trying to become a better and calmer parent, the good things I do will eventually become habits that will then become a part of who I fundamentally am.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Obey!

This post might be a jumbled mess of thoughts, so my apologies.

Life is always easier said than done. "If I were her mother, I'd set her straight." or "My child would never be such a bully." (I think in bold and italics. Deal with it!) I realize now that parenting is much easier when it's not your child, you're not emotionally involved, and you think a textbook answer is sufficient and would work in every situation. It's easy to think "good parent, good child" or "naughty child, bad parent". But the truth of the matter is that children have their agency and their own minds just like adults! Kids can just come high strung, low key, mellow, angry, helpful, soft spoken, outgoing, introverted, slow to warm up, easy etc. Every child requires something different, and it's really hard to know what "good parenting" is!

I have been struggling with knowing how to respond to Dean's heightened disobedience. He's really into testing our limits and resolve. We currently employ time-outs when he misbehaves, but Matt and I have different ideas of what behavior warrants a time-out. I generally like to reserve an official 2 min. time out (one min. per year of his life) for harmful behavior. That means if he is destroying my house/items or kicking, hitting, biting, etc. people he will be put in a time out after a warning. I tell him why he's going into time out before, and have him tell me why he was in time out when I get him.

Matt thinks a 2 min. time out should be used any time he disobeys. And if it were up to him, he would leave Dean in time out for 15 min. if his behavior was very harmful (though this hasn't happened because I don't think that a 15 min. time out is appropriate for a 2 year old!). He also stresses to Dean that he is being punished because he's being bad. I really don't like the emphasis on punishment, but I understand why he feels it's necessary.

I would love to know how to better teach and positively reinforce in the heat of the moment rather than punish and yell. (Any suggestion on things that help you?) I don't want to be the yelling mom, and I find myself yelling way more than I should. My anger is short lived and I do show lots of love after and admit I am in the wrong when I do, but still...I should not be a victim of my emotions. I control my emotions and am self-deceived if I think otherwise.

I often get angry at having to repeat over and over and over for him to stop doing something. I'll physically remove him from a situation and try to divert his attention to have him dart right back to what he's not supposed to do. And oh does that irk me. I know, I know. This is normal and he is only two. That's hard to remember sometimes in the heat of the moment.

Once when he repeatedly did naughty things to Walt, I roughly picked him up, swatted him on the bum, carried him to his room, and practically threw him in his crib (yelling all the while). As I was yelling at him, I realized that at that very moment I was doing something I knew I shouldn't. I was reacting out of anger rather than acting out of love. I know it's not good or effective parenting tactic. I know it's not sanctified by God. I know it's something that Satan revels in. And yet I was doing it. And I'm an adult!! How can I get so angry at him for disobeying me when I am disobedient myself? I understand that I'm acting inappropriately. He doesn't really.

This morning I thought, "I wonder if God wants to pull his hair out and scream when we're repeatedly disobedient. Or if He ever thinks, 'how many times do I have to tell you [...]'. or 'if you just obeyed me you wouldn't have gotten hurt!'"

I really need to work on obeying God and more consistently act out of love instead of react out of anger.