Friday, February 27, 2009

Frugal Friday Linky Love

This week I'm linking out to some other blogs (I found them in the "Frugal Living" section of mormon mommy blogs...some of the blogs there are focused on coupon clipping and you know, i don't buy half the stuff that they're clipping coupons for...but these few blogs had some stuff that I felt was more applicable to a hippie like me. ☺)

The ladies at Food Storage Made Easy have post about how to make your own self-rotating can shelves out of an old box. It's pretty spiffy.

Adventures in Self Reliance explains how to make very cool (very effective) firestarters with an old egg carton, some dryer lint, and a little melted wax. They're practically free, and very effective.

Frugalityville shares a list of cooking substitutes--no half & half or self rising flour? fear not, there are alternatives!

Preparedness Matters has a great post full of practical suggestions about practicing thrift and frugality in your every day life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Long + Grey = Beautiful

Surely I can't be the only one who finds this beautiful: long, thick, healthy, grey hair.

When did we become afraid of aging? Traditionally a woman's lifetime was divided into three (or four) parts: (child), maiden, mother, and wisewoman (aka crone). Each age had it's own purpose: an age for learning, an age for growing, and age for bearing children, and an age for teaching. Each age is beautiful in it's own way. Just as menarche indicates the transition from childhood to maidenhood, so grey hairs indicate the maturity and wisdom of a wisewoman.


(this is the hair I want!)

In ancient times cutting off ones hair was a sign of mourning. Now it seems that millions of women cut their hair as it turns grey. Are they mourning the passage into the next phase of life? There is nothing to mourn! It is true that our current society is quite negative about age (and denies it with everything from botox to viagra), but I am a believer in "be[ing] the change you wish to see in the world, " [Ghandi]. Here in rural Alaska there are strong influances from the native cultures, and one thing they really have right is respect for elders. I love that. I am glad that my son is seeing that respect beyond our own family, and hope that he will teach it to his children as well.
But we fear aging, and so we fear gray. My mother in law has been dying her hair since before Hubby was born. I doubt that even she knows what color her real hair truly is anymore. My husband started greying at his temples in his mid-20s. After we were married he got much greyer (apparently being married to me is stressful!) ☺ and now he has the "salt and pepper" look with silver temples. His mother is greatly bothered by the grey: all her older children dye their hair, so 'baby' Hubby is the only one who's grey. We were at a family gathering a couple of years ago when she told him that he really should start dying his hair, and surely his wife would appreciate it if he did. I smiled at her and said "actually I rather like the grey." ♥ She has not brought it up since.
My own mother dyed her hair for a few months but decided it was not worth the expense. Her light red hair is now streaked with white, but I think it is as beautiful as it has ever been. It's a new kind of beautiful, but it is beautiful nonetheless.


Oh, you may say, that's all well and good to go au natural when you're 50 or 60 or 80, but what if you're going grey in your 30s or 20s? I'd invite you to visit some of the links below before making up your mind. I just always remember that at some point one has to stop dying, right? And then, rather than a gradual changing hair-by-hair, there is a vicious stripe growing out from the roots. Honestly that stripe is one of the biggest reasons I don't ever plan to dye away my greys.
  • Consider the BlogHer article That Touch of Gray (it kinda suits you anyway)
  • Or how about the Going Gray Blog, where they proudly declare that "gray hair is the new black"
  • Check out the Everyday Goddess and her quest for natural hair (with the greys): she quit dying one day and it took her about a year and a half to grow it out long enough that she could cut off the dyed part (and still have a nice feminine haircut). She now describes her hair as "various shades of beautiful." I ♥ that! At least visit this post (the unabbreviated version of "BS" is used a couple of times...just fyi). She's young, unmarried, and living in LA. If she can do it, so can you!

I'm 27 and I've found a few greys. (For the newbies here, I wear my hair long--I'm currently on a quest to find my own terminal length and right now it's about hip-length). I currently use henna in my hair because of it's various nutritive benefits, but I don't think of it as a hair colorant (that's just a side-effect), and I don't intend to use it to cover grey. I use it in small doses so that it brightens my hair but doesn't fully 'cover' it. My hope is that with a few years of use my hair will be stronger and I won't need the henna anymore. I plan to go happily into old age with my own color on the long hair I love, twisted up into some graceful bun. Motherhood is now, but Wisewomanhood is next, and both are beautiful.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Movie Review Resources

The rating on a movie can only give the vaguest idea of what is really in it or whether it's appropriate to show to your family. One movie might be completely clean yet earn a PG-13 because it deals with a terminal illness. Another movie with the same rating could be peppered with vulgar language, sexual references, and violence.
Different parents are comfortable with different things, and some families have tools such as the TVGuardian (which utilizes the closed caption feed to silence and remove profanity and blasphemy), so I think it's more helpful to be able to find out precisely what is in each movie. Even with the new extended rating boxes (which indicate that the rating is for 'langauge and innuendo' or 'thematic elements') it's still difficult to really know what is in the film. For this reason, I like to utilize movie content reviewing sites.

I used to use ScreenIt, but their site is now harder to get through because they have two levels of reviews--the simple ones are free, but you have to register (and pay) to get the more elaborate ones. As you navigate through the site there are frequent ads for the paid version (which is ad-free) and it's somewhat annoying. If you don't mind the ads though, they have very detailed (blow-by-blow) information about the movie content.

My sister recommends Kids-In-Mind, which I have only tried once, but it was like ScreenIt in that it has extremely detailed information about each category (sex/nudity, violence/gore, profanity, and substance use). For example, it would say "a man and a woman kiss, and he asks her to come up to his apartment. Nothing is shown, but afterwards we see them laying next to each other in a bed." Under the profanity it is very specific. eg: "3 scatalogical terms, 2 sexual references, 1 anatomical term, 5 mild obsenities, name calling, and 5 religious exclamations." The only downside is that they seem to stick to the bigger movies, so if you're looking for something that was released straight to DVD, or that's on the older side, you may not be able to find it here.

I also like CommonSenseMedia because it has a wide variety of movies and doesn't require registration. It has brief and simple reviews, but viewers can also contribute reviews and I find the multiple perspectives helpful. Each rater (both the official site rater and also each viewer rater) gives a rating for what age they feel the movie is appropriate for: it's much more specific than just "PG" vs "PG-13" because you can rate it for any age 2-18. (If you want to leave reviews, you will have to register, but registration is free.)


So that's what works for me. Works For Me Wednesday has now moved to We are THAT Family, so now you can run on over there to see what works for other people!

The Powuh

When a 2 year old has an 8 year old brother, he gets a head start on learning about stuff like super powers and bazookas.
[oh, by way of clarification, Bear is on a bit of a potty strike this week--he keeps asking for diapers, so I'm going with it. I am excited that he's been so self-motivated, but I'm not going to push him if he needs a little break.]
This morning I was sewing and Bear was playing near me when I got a whiff of you know what. So I got everything out and laid him down to change his diaper.
"You pooped," I announced (I'm trying to help him maintain awareness at least).
"I poop!" he gleefully responded, "powuh poop!"
"Did you say power poop?"
[enthusiastically] "Uh-huh, powuh poop!!"
"Oh, that's very strange."
[singing] "A, B, C, D, powuh poop H, K, K, K, LMN, O, P..."

I swear, I don't know where he comes up with this stuff. He learned the alphabet from his musical teddy bear, but the power poop...I have no idea!

"My Nose!"

This weekend we had some glorious sunny weather, with quite mild temperatures (high 30s or low 40s I'd estimate). We've had a lot of snow this year, and while some areas get plowed, others do not, and there is a good sized field right across from our apartment that does not get plowed at all. I'm not sure what our total snowfall has been this year, but I think it's been around 10 feet since Christmas. Of course there's always some melting and compacting every time things warm up, so in areas that never get touched the snow is not that deep. In the case of our field, it's around 3-4 feet deep (depending on the area).
I figured sunny day + deep snow + two little boys (and a mommy) who are subject to depression and who are missing their daddy while he's gone for 11 days = let's go playoutside!!!
So we got out the snowpants and wool socks and boots and hats and mittens and coats and went out to play. While the snow was 3+ feet deep, it was sufficiently compacted that we only sank into it a few inches. That was enough to slow myself or Wolf a little, but it was nearly knee-high for Bear, so it slowed him considerably.
I taught Wolf how to play fox and geese (which is not nearly such an exciting game with only two people--since Bear was too small to get it) but the dog kept running through the middle of the game and we decided she was a really dumb goose.
Wolf spent most of his time climbing the piles of snow at the edges of the field (where the plows pile it up) and then 'skydiving' off them onto the field.
Bear mostly wandered around picking up chunks of snow and sucking on them. [tangent--Do all kids do this? I don't remember eating snow myself, but both of my boys love it. I have long since given up on trying to get them to stop eating the snow, and instead have focused on getting them to select their treats off of relatively clean snowbanks rather than the ground. ] Anyway, Bear wandered around eating snow, and periodically falling down and then calling "hewp mommy, hewp!!"
One time when I was helping him up he started to wail "my nose, my nose!" I thought perhaps he had gotten his face in the snow, and began trying to comfort him, but he immediately made it clear that his concern was not directed at his face, but rather at his hands. He had dropped his chunks of snow, or (in his words) his snows. Being only two, he drops the first S, and so was very very concerned about his "'no's."
I got him new snows and he was happily on his way.
Ahh the fun of linguistic acquisition!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

In Which I Reveal My Age

Thank you all for participating in my little poll. ☺ The results were as follows:

42 people cast their votes concerning my age.
  • 1 said I am 23-25
  • 14 said I am 25-28
  • 18 said I am 28-30
  • 5 said I am 30-32
  • 3 said I am 32-34
  • 1 said I am 35+

And the truth is...

[drumroll]

I am 27 23.

I was born in 1981, so according to the average calendar, I will turn 28 a few months from now--so the majority of you either knew this or guessed pretty darn close.
I had wondered whether my having an 8 year old would push people to guess older...Wolf was born just before I turned 19. On the other hand I also figured that many of you remembered that he's Hubby's biological son and that I adopted him after we married.

I am fairly sure that the person who voted for me being 23 was my husband, who has maintained that I was 19 since he met me (for the record, I thought I was 21 when we met, but apparently I was confused). This last year I finally put my foot down and insisted that I did not really want to be more than five years younger than my calendar age, and I definitely was NOT willing to be more than ten years younger than my spouse; so he'd better let me get a little older. He's obligingly agreed to let me age to 23 now.
How considerate of him.
(According to the average calendar, we are precisely 4 1/2 years apart...but don't tell him that, he likes his little fantasy world!)

My entire life people have guessed that I was older than I am; I suspect this has to do with my being an oldest child and "an adult since age three" in the words of my father. I was not the least bit surprised nor am I at all bothered that the majority of people guessed that I was slightly older than my actual age...

With that said, whoever guessed that I was 35+ should probably prepare to meet my Hubby in the backyard at high noon. I think there might be a throwdown.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Note

A massive load of snow has slid off my roof and knocked my satellite dish all off kilter (ie, my internet is gone). Last time this happened I was able to take a wrench and point it back up, but this time it's been knocked off more than one axis apparently, because I can neither reach it nor adjust it, so I have to wait for someone who can.
SO, there are a few scheduled posts already in the queue...but if I don't visit you, comment on your blogs, or publish your comments particularly regularly, well, that's why.
Hopefully I'll be up and running soon...but if I'm not, blame it on winters in Alaska, and a badly sloped roofline.

How We Met--Yosemite

Another installment in the How We Met series (wherein Hubby makes up a new story on the spot every time someone asks how we met...)
(I have observed that the early stories always included Wolf, because we were telling them to people who knew that Hubby had been a single dad...now that we've been established for a while though, the stories are of the more traditional boy-meets-girl variety, without the complications of allowing for boy-has-a-three-year-old-son-when-he-meets-girl...)

Hubby was working as a summer ranger at Yosemite National Park. I was there with my then-boyfriend to do some rock climbing. Unfortunately my boyfriend fell and was knocked unconscious. Hubby was the nearest ranger, so he radioed for help and then stayed with me while we waited for the paramedics. He continued to stay with me as the paramedics attended to my boyfriend (who was ok, mostly just shaken up), and by the time we were all leaving he and I had hit it off so we exchanged email addresses so we could stay in touch...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How We Met--Guatemala

I haven't posted any of these in a while, but with romance in the air I figure it's a good time to post another one!
For those who are newer here, you can pop over to this post to learn how this all started...but the long and short of it is that whenever someone asks how we met, Hubby makes up a new story on the spot. Here is a recent one:

I was a sea kayaking instructor in Guatemala (how cool is that?! never mind that I've never been in a kayak and am more or less terrified of the notion!) He was there for a short study abroad trip, and really wanted to try sea kayaking. Unfortunately I was completely booked, and was not going to be able to fit him into the schedule before he had to return home. Fortunately, I decided he was cute and offered to give him a private lesson after hours. Unfortunately, when I was teaching him how to roll over he hit his head on a submerged rock and conked out. Fortunately, I saved his life and stayed by his side in the hospital, and the rest, of course, is history...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Twinkle Twinkle Little What?

Sometimes when I am putting him to sleep, Bear likes me to sing to him (other times he wants me to play a CD or even just "shhhh mommy," but sometimes he likes me to sing). As most toddlers do, he likes repetition and familarity. His favorite song for me to sing to him is "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high

Jesus put you in the sky

Twinkle twinkle little star
Look how beautiful you are
(this version courtesy of Jr Asparagus and the veggietales)


The problem with twinkle twinkle of course is that, even switching between the original and Jr's variation, I can only sing it so many times before my brains start melting out my ears. If you have kids, I'm sure you've been there... so a couple of weeks ago I started shaking things up...
Twinkle twinkle little Bear
You have lots and lots of hair

That's good cuz if you were bald

You would look really funny

Twinkle twinkle little Bear

Go to sleep please with your hair

(you understand of course that I make these up as I sing them. Sometimes they rhyme, sometimes they do not, usually they are pretty cheesy, but occasionally they are positively brilliant.)
One night (after a dozen verses about Bears, Wolves, both kids real names, dogs, stars, moons, etc) I sang something different
Twinkle twinkle little fish
Swimming in a little dish

Please do not fall out of there

You would drown in all the air

Twinkle twinkle little fish

Stay inside your little dish

Bear adored this one. For the next week straight he would get mad if I sang twinkle anything else, he just wanted "Twinkle fish!" (He got daddy to sing twinkle fish--daddy sang about a fish on a dinner dish...clearly we think about fish in different ways!)
Well, this week he's on to something new, only this time it didn't come from me. The other night I asked him if he'd like mommy to sing, and he said "sing twinkle" I said ok and started into a rendition of twinkle fish. He stopped me and said "NO! sing twinkle potato."


Go visit Tiny Talk Tuesday for more posts of the funny things our tiny ones (and not-so-tiny ones) say.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Motherhood Part II--Mother At Home

The Lord clearly defined the roles of mothers and fathers in providing for and rearing a righteous posterity. In the beginning, Adam--not Eve--was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother's calling is in the home, not in the market place. ~Ezra Taft Benson

Today is Part II, if you missed Part I (about why we should not delay childbearing) click on over and read it. Parts III and IV are coming.
Part II focuses on why mother should be in the home rather than working outside of it.
I listed a number of links in part I--the quotes here continue to come from those sources. All italicized/indented portions of the post are quotes.
Go ahead and get comfortable--I think this one is even longer than part I. ☺
Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security, her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world. ~David O. McKay

The hand that rocks the cradle
is the hand that rules the world.
~ William Ross Wallace (1819-1881)

We know these things--that a mother has great influence on her children and that she, probably more than any other, carries the responsibility for setting them on the paths they will follow as adults. With this serious responsibility before us, it is a wonder to me that so many women hand their children off to others and leave the home to join the workforce.
Since the beginning, a woman’s first and most important role has been ushering into mortality spirit sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. Since the beginning, her role has been to teach her children eternal gospel principles. She is to provide for her children a haven of security and love—regardless of how modest her circumstances might be.
In the beginning, Adam was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow—not Eve. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother’s place is in the home!
I recognize there are voices in our midst which would attempt to convince you that these truths are not applicable to our present-day conditions. If you listen and heed, you will be lured away from your principal obligations. Beguiling voices in the world cry out for “alternative life-styles” for women. They maintain that some women are better suited for careers than for marriage and motherhood. These individuals spread their discontent by the propaganda that there are more exciting and self-fulfilling roles for women than homemaking. Some even have been bold to suggest that the Church move away from the “Mormon woman stereotype” of homemaking and rearing children. They also say it is wise to limit your family so you can have more time for personal goals and self-fulfillment.
~ETBenson [link]
Did you notice that bit? The "propaganda" of there being acceptable womens roles other than homemaking? I have no doubt that that was an intentional word choice--and all the negativity that goes along with it is something we should pay attention to. Yes, those voices are many and they are growing louder, but they are wrong!
[Women] are to become a career woman in the greatest career on earth--that of homemaker, wife, and mother. It was never intended by the Lord that married women should compete with men in employment. They have a far greater and more important service to render.
The husband is expected to support his family and only in an emergency should a wife secure outside employment. Her place is in the home, to build the home into a haven of delight.
Numerous divorces can be traced directly to the day when the wife left the home and went out into the world into employment. Two incomes raise the standard of living beyond its norm. Two spouses working prevent the complete and proper home life, break into the family prayers, create an independence which is not cooperative, causes distortion, limits the family, and frustrates the children already born. ~Spencer W. Kimball [link]
In a home where there is an able-bodied husband, he is expected to be the breadwinner. Sometimes we hear of husbands who, because of economic conditions, have lost their jobs and expect their wives to go out of the home and work even though the husband is still capable of providing for his family. In these cases, we urge the husband to do all in his power to allow his wife to remain in the home caring for the children while he continues to provide for his family the best he can, even though the job be is able secure may not be ideal and family budgeting will have to be tighter. ~ETBenson [link]
Let me tell you my own experiences with this. Before I was married, I earned a degree as a school teacher. I graduated mid-year and spent the next few months substituting full-time. I really enjoyed teaching--it was challenging and stimulating and fun. I planned to continue down that path, but then I got married. As most of my readers probably know, Wolf was 3 when Hubby and I married, so I never had those childless days of early marriage. Since there was a child in the home, I came home too. Hubby was finishing his last few college classes, and money was very tight. I was able to find a job with a local theatre company sewing costumes (from home). It was erratic work though, and after a year or so I had to quit. Hubby was taking classes three days a week, and we decided that on the days he was not in school, one of us should be working. I had my teaching certificate and he did not have his yet, so we figured I could earn more money and he should stay home with Wolf on those days. I signed up to be a substitute teacher with the local school district. This was right before Christmas break, and within a few days I was scheduled for every available day until break.
On my first day of subbing I spent most of the day fretting that I really needed to get home and do the laundry and wash dishes and other housewifely things. Meanwhile, hanging out at home with a four-year-old and no car for six hours, Hubby got stir-crazy. He ordered pizza for lunch because he couldn't figure out what to cook (in spite of the pantry full of food), and the minute I got home he said he just needed to get out of the house for a little while and he went for a drive. Now I do not tell this story to make fun of my Hubby, or to suggest that he can't handle the house (because he really can); I tell the story to illustrate that there is something hard-wired into men and women. Men need to be out and doing things; and while a single woman can find great enjoyment in being out, a mother will be more fulfilled if she is where she belongs: at home. I enjoyed teaching when I was single; I never imagined it would be so different after only a year, but it was. (For the record, after Christmas break Hubby got signed up and he started subbing on the days he was not in school. My out-of-state license meant that I got the same wage as an unlicensed teacher, so I wasn't earning any more than Hubby anyway, and I hated being gone and he hated being home while I was gone, so it was a very simple decision.)

I can understand that the decision feels much harder in cases where the wife is earning more than her husband can, but some things are more important than money, and so I strongly encourage any mother who works outside the home to prayerfully evaluate her options, and to try to come home.
It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters.
We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence.
Too often the pressure for popularity, on children and teens, places an economic burden on the income of the father, so mother feels she must go to work to satisfy her children’s needs. That decision can be most shortsighted. It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character. Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness. How vital are mother’s influence and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected! I do not wish to wound any feelings, but all of us are aware of instances of active Latter-day Saint families who are experiencing difficulties with their children because mother is not where she ought to be—in the home. A recent national magazine gave these alarming figures: “More than 14 million children ages 6 to 13 now have working mothers, and it is estimated that a third of them are unsupervised for lengthy periods each day.” (U.S. News and World Report, 14 Sept. 1981, p. 42.) The seeds of divorce are often sown and the problems of children begin when mother works outside the home. You mothers should carefully count the cost before you decide to share breadwinning responsibilities with your husbands. It is a truism that children need more of mother than of money. ~ETBenson [link]
Children are meant to be with their mothers, it's that simple.
I find it interesting that back in 1972 President Kimball said that having two incomes "raises the standard of living above the norm." While two incomes may now be considered 'normal,' I would venture to say that having two incomes still creates an inflated standard of living. President Hinckley referred to "extravagances." If you have read this post (or this one or this one) you will realize that I classify a great many 'normal' things as 'extravagances.'
Incidentally, I have seen studies indicating that when a woman goes to work, most if not all of her income is eaten up by the expenses of her job (additional taxes, her work wardrobe, vehicle, gas money, childcare, etc), so I would venture to say that a second income may not be so much income as hassle.

It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee.
~Gordon B Hinckley


If mother will come home, not only will she find that there is plenty to keep her busy and stimulated, but being a mother and homemaker is also very fulfilling. I was raised by a stay at home mother who taught me domestic skills, and for this I am eternally grateful (you've heard me say before that my mother is one in a hundred million). Those who were not raised in homes where they saw these things may have a harder time adjusting to the lifestyle, but that does not make it any less ideal. Sure, the work of keeping a home can get tiring, monotonous, and dull, but the children never do. And while I suspect that every mother has those days where she goes a little crazy, well, I'm pretty sure that working women get them too, and I'm positive that working mothers get them twice as much as anybody else (because they are trying to do two things at once, and that just never works very well).
For those mothers who are inclined to stay home so long as their children are small, but are considering going to work as soon as the youngest enters school, please pay special attention to the end of this next quote.
To you young women with small children, yours is a tremendous challenge. So often there is not enough money. You must scrimp and save. You must be wise and careful in your expenditures. You must be strong and bold and brave and march forward with gladness in your eye and love in your heart. How blessed you are, my dear young mothers. You have children who will be yours forever... Nothing else you will ever own, no worldly thing you will ever acquire will be worth so much as the love of your children. God bless you, my dear, dear young mothers.
Then we have you older women who are neither young nor old. You are in the most wonderful season of your lives. Your children are in their teens. Possibly one or two are married. Some are on missions, and you are sacrificing to keep them in the field. You are hoping and praying for their success and happiness. To you dear women I offer some special counsel. Count your blessings; name them one by one. You don’t need a great big mansion of a house with an all-consuming mortgage that goes on forever. You do need a comfortable and pleasant home where love abides. Someone has said that there is no more beautiful picture than that of a good woman cooking a meal for those she loves. Weigh carefully that which you do. You do not need some of the extravagances that working outside the home might bring. Weigh carefully the importance of your being in the home when your children come from school. ~GBHinckley [link]
The act of deserting home in order to shape society is like thoughtlessly removing crucial fingers from an imperiled dike in order to teach people to swim.
~Neal A Maxwell

(I'm going to wait just a moment while you go back and re-read that last quote there. It hits like a ton of bricks, doesn't it?)

Of course there are occasional exceptions, and our prophets have spoken to this as well:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed. [link]

I am aware that many of you often find yourselves in circumstances that are not always ideal... I recognize that some sisters are widowed or divorced....I also recognize that not all women in the Church will have an opportunity for marriage and motherhood in mortality. But if you in this situation are worthy and endure faithfully, you can be assured of all blessings from a kind and loving Heavenly Father—and I emphasize all blessings.
Solutions for you who are in a minority are not the same as for the majority of women in the Church who can and should be fulfilling their roles as wives and mothers. It is a misguided idea that a woman should leave the home, where there is a husband and children, to prepare educationally and financially for an unforeseen eventuality. Too often, I fear, even women in the Church use the world as their standard for success and basis for self-worth. ~ETBenson [link]

It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee. I know how some of you struggle with decisions concerning this matter. I repeat, do the very best you can. You know your circumstances, and I know that you are deeply concerned for the welfare of your children. Each of you has a bishop who will counsel with you and assist you. If you feel you need to speak with an understanding woman, do not hesitate to get in touch with your Relief Society president. ~GBHinckley [link]
President Hinckley was always especially understanding of those few who are exceptions to the rule...however, I strongly urge you to never assume that you are the exception. Do everything within your power to avoid working outside the home--even in cases where the mother needs to contribute to the family finances, I would propose that it's preferable to find work that can be done from home, or to at least stagger work schedules with your husband so that you do not have to send your children off to babysitters or daycare. This is one reason why I have chosen the career options that I have (teaching, sewing at home and selling online, and childbirth education): these things will allow me the maximum amount of time with my children if I ever have to rely on them to support my family. I do not by any means suggest that other career paths are inferior, I just want to clarify that one of my criteria in choosing my career options was something that would allow me to still be with my children.
Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power. ~JBBeck [link]
I conclude with a link back to President Benson's list of ten ways a mother can spend effective time with her children (because the list is so good it warranted it's own post!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Little Advice on Valentines Day

Just the other day Hubby and I were talking about this, and he commented what a helpful thing it is in our marriage, so I thought I would share it with you. At my bridal shower I was given a CD set that had a series (I think 4) speeches directed to young couples. I cannot remember the speaker's name, and a lot of his advice was stuff I've heard elsewhere--talking about different love language styles and that sort of thing. But somewhere in there he made a recommendation that we took to heart. It's very simple, but very far-reaching:

Always take each other's words at face value.

That's it.
No subtext, no need to try to interpret what the other person meant, just always take each other's words at face value.
So, for example, if my husband asks me a question "would you like to go to a movie tonight?" or "is it cool if I go out with my friends tonight?" or "are ya feelin frisky?!" then I could answer "yes!" or I could answer "[sigh] yeah, [sniff] sure" and the answer is the same. If I said yes, then he can take it as yes, and it doesn't matter how I said it. AND, if he wants to go out with his friends, and I say sure, then he can go out and not feel guilty. If I don't want him to go, I'd better actually say that I am tired and don't feel up to taking care of the kids alone tonight and could he go another night, or at least help with bedtime and then go later.
Alternately, if I don't say something, then he can't be expected to know what I was thinking. None of this silliness with dropping hints or expecting him to know what I want. I can make his favorite dinner and wear his favorite color and get the kids to bed early, but unless I actually say "hey baby, I'm feelin frisky tonight" then I can't take it personally if he settles in with his book. And I can comment about being tired and sore but unless I actually say "would you give me a backrub?" then he can't be expected to do so. Sure, he might offer, but I can't get upset if he doesn't, because I never asked.

The speaker in those original CDs told a story of a man who would sit at the dinner table and stare at the mashed potatoes, but never ask for them. He wanted someone to pass them, but he would not ask "because it means more if I don't have to ask." [Yes, take a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor...and then ask yourself when was the last time you expected your partner to know what you wanted without specifically saying so? Not so different is it?!]

Now I am inclined to be a pretty honest person anyway, so this has never been hard for me. I don't think it's really been hard for Hubby either. The thing is, because we have a formal agreement about it, neither one of us ever has to waste time trying to figure out what the other meant, or wondering if there was some subtext that we missed. There is no manipulation (and whether we mean to or not, a lot of us manipulate our family members to some degree). There is no guilt. Sometimes there is frustration when I realize that I really should have given him a different answer, BUT I don't get upset with him because he trusted what I said, and that is entirely fair. I just make a mental note to respond more accurately next time. ☺

Obviously for this to work you both have to agree to it, but I would hope that any married couple would be able to handle making a goal together. ☺ I honestly believe that this decision of ours is one of the things that is going to carry us through the hard times in the coming decades. ♥



Sure, we still joke around with each other, and we're sarcastic from time to time--but when we're actually trying to communicate with each other, we say what we mean without subtext or needing to interpret hidden meanings. It's very liberating. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Motherhood Part I--Why Kids Can't Wait

No more sacred word exists in secular or holy writ than that of mother. There is no more noble work than that of a good and God-fearing mother.
~Ezra Taft Benson

I have been thinking about this post for some time, and I have a lot to say, so I'm dividing it into several posts:
Part I (this post)--the importance of being a mother--ie, not delaying childbearing
Part II--why mother should be in the home rather than working outside of it
Part III--thoughts on family planning and full quivers
Part IV--for those who cannot have kids (due to singleness or infertility)

I would like to begin with a list of links to talks given by prophets, apostles, and other church leaders about woman's divine role in God's Plan. I quote from them liberally here, boldfacing phrases that I find particularly significant, and occasionally adding commentary of my own. All italicized/indented parts are quotes.
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. [link]
Does it get any more clear than that?!

Young mothers and fathers, with all my heart I counsel you not to postpone having your children, being co-creators with our Father in heaven.
Do not use the reasoning of the world, such as, "We'll wait until we can better afford having children, until we are more secure, until John has completed his education, until he has a better paying job, until we have a larger home, until we've obtained a few of the material conveniences," and on and on. This is the reasoning of the world and is not pleasing in the sight of God. Mothers who enjoy good health, have your children and have them early. And, husbands, always be considerate of your wives in the bearing children.
Yes, blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice. ~ETBenson [link]
I just want to say that, as someone who assumed that children would come quickly and easily, I have had a rude awakening. If you want children 'someday' I would encourage you to pray about making that day today. You may think that you can plan children when you want them, but there is a good chance that it will be more complicated than you think. It may take you months or years to get pregnant, even if you are aware of your fertile times and 'doing everything right.' You may get pregnant easily but then miscarry. You may miscarry several times. You may not be able to conceive at all. If you are unable to have biological children, the adoption process can take years. Once you do have a child, you may find you are fertile again within weeks, or you may be like me: not ovulating again for nearly two years. And so I say again, you cannot really plan your children, which I think is all the more reason to be willing to welcome them now rather than later...because you just never know how long it will take or what will be involved.
Women find true happiness when they understand and delight in their unique role within the plan of salvation. The things women can and should do very best are championed and taught without apology here. We believe in the formation of eternal families. That means we believe in getting married. We know that the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. That means we believe in having children. We have faith that with the Lord’s help we can be successful in rearing and teaching children. These are vital responsibilities in the plan of happiness, and when women embrace those roles with all their hearts, they are happy! Knowing and defending the truth about families is the privilege of every sister in this Church.
Because families are eternal, we cannot afford to be casual or complacent about those relationships. Much of the great work of this society in the past has been centered in helping Latter-day Saint women strengthen families, with emphasis on improving our nurturing skills—homemaking skills, parenting skills, and marriage skills. Families mean work, but they are our great work—and we are not afraid of work. This is what we do best; no one does families better than the sisters of this Relief Society. ~JBBeck [link]

As President McKay said, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home," and so I would add that no other success can compete with the fulfillment of parenthood. You cannot fully understand until you have children--maturity does not come with age, it comes with parenthood. Hubby and I have had several discussions with childless friends, and regardless of their age, we observe in them a twinge of selfish immaturity...I think it is because they have never engaged in the full selflessness required for parenthood. It IS a big job, it IS overwhelming--often so--but it is so worth it!
Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are “becoming less valued,” in the culture of the gospel we still believe in having children. Prophets, seers, and revelators who were sustained at this conference have declared that “God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that “in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels.” Faithful daughters of God desire children.
I
n the scriptures we read of Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, and Mary, who were foreordained to be mothers before children were born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah of the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child, the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the Resurrection. Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood. ~JBBeck [link]

If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up [a] worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit.
~Spencer W Kimball

Prophets have admonished us to forsake the world and turn our hearts to Jesus Christ, who promised us, “In this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full” (D&C 101:36; emphasis added). Said President Spencer W. Kimball, “If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up … a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit” (“The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign, June 1976, 6). How often are we so focused on pursuing the so-called good life that we lose sight of eternal life? It is the fatal spiritual equivalent of selling our birthright for a mess of pottage.
As sisters in Zion we can be obstacles to the adversary’s conspiracy against families and virtue. No wonder he tempts us to settle for earthly pleasures rather than to seek for eternal glory.~SLDew [link]
It is precisely because the daughters of Zion are so uncommon that the adversary will not leave them alone.
We salute you, sisters...[you], more quickly than others, will understand the possible dangers when the word 'self' is militantly placed before other words like 'fulfillment.' You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today’s world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms.
So often our sisters comfort others when their own needs are greater than those being comforted. That quality is like the generosity of Jesus on the cross. Empathy during agony is a portion of divinity! I thank the Father that His Only Begotten Son did not say in defiant protest at Calvary, “My body is my own!” I stand in admiration of women today who resist the fashion of abortion, by refusing to make the sacred womb a tomb! When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this. ~NAMaxwell [link]

Before the world was created, in heavenly councils the pattern and role of women were prescribed. You were elected by God to be wives and mothers in Zion. Exaltation in the celestial kingdom is predicated on faithfulness to that calling.
Since the beginning, a woman’s first and most important role has been ushering into mortality spirit sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.
I recognize there are voices in our midst which would attempt to convince you that these truths are not applicable to our present-day conditions. If you listen and heed, you will be lured away from your principal obligations. Beguiling voices in the world cry out for “alternative life-styles” for women. They maintain that some women are better suited for careers than for marriage and motherhood. These individuals spread their discontent by the propaganda...
I am aware that many of you often find yourselves in circumstances that are not always ideal... I recognize that not all women in the Church will have an opportunity for marriage and motherhood in mortality. But if you in this situation are worthy and endure faithfully, you can be assured of all blessings from a kind and loving Heavenly Father—and I emphasize all blessings.
Solutions for you who are in a minority are not the same as for the majority of women in the Church who can and should be fulfilling their roles as wives and mothers... Too often, I fear, even women in the Church use the world as their standard for success and basis for self-worth. ~ETBenson [link]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I just want to add a little note here in response to a couple of comments...
It is true that not everyone should have babies immediately after getting married (and neither I nor the church condones having babies outside of marriage). For some couples it might be appropriate to wait a little while because health or emotional issues or whatever need to be resolved before they can be good parents. This is why I said that people should "pray about making that day today" and to "be willing to welcome [children] now."
We are not put here just to be baby makin machines ☺ but we should be willing to have children on God's schedule--whatever that may be--rather than trying to call all the shots ourselves.
I confess that (having heard/read these kinds of quotes) I was pretty judgmental in my teens when I saw girls just a few years older than myself get married and then wait 2 or 3 or 5 years before having kids. Then I got married and in spite of our best efforts I did not have a baby for over 3 years--I learned that what people see on the outside is rarely a good indication of what is really going on, and yes, I learned to not be so judgmental. ☺

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday

So, as my regular readers know, I use cloth menstrual pads. I make them with scraps of fabric left from other projects. I happen to have one that has the same print as my son’s flannel blanket. Bear recognized the fabric when he saw me take the pad out of the cupboard last week, and he said “my blankie!” and tried to grab it. I said no, your blanket is in your bed; this is mommy’s. He said “mommy blankie?” Um, well, sure. Close enough for a 2 year old, right?
But kids remember more than you might think. A couple of days later, he saw me getting a different pad (different fabric), and got all excited and said “Mommy blankie!!”

-----------------------------------------------------

I refer to my kids as Wolf and Bear because those are nicknames we actually do use...Bear is only 2, but "bear" is his middle name... Wolf (age 8) identifies with the wolf as a sort of totem...
Well, this morning we went to wake Wolf for school, and discovered that he had slept naked (he had jammies on when I tucked him in last night!) He explained that it was a full moon, and he was hoping that he might turn into a wolf overnight, so he had taken off his clothes just in case. ☺

For more kids saying amusing things, check out NotBefore7's Tiny Talk Tuesday (click the button)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Types of Miscarriages & What to Expect if You're Miscarrying

It wasn’t until I sat down to write my “index” post for miscarriage that I realized that I should write this post. There are things I’ve learned that I wish I had known from the beginning, and that I want to share.

A note before I begin: the medical establishment refers to a miscarriage as an “abortion” and while the term means “ending” and is therefore accurate, it also carries other connotations which are painful for a mother who wanted to keep her baby, so I stick with the term “miscarriage.”

There are four kinds of miscarriage: spontaneous, threatened, incomplete, and missed. Here is what they mean:
Spontaneous miscarriage means that the baby has died, and the mother has begun to cramp, bleed, and expel the contents of her uterus (fetus, placenta, etc).
Threatened miscarriage means that the mother has begun to cramp and/or bleed, but the baby is still alive (verified via heartbeat or ultrasound). In these cases efforts are made to stop the miscarriage and save the baby—often bedrest or anti-labor medications are prescribed. If the same events happened after 20 weeks gestation, it would be called pre-term labor rather than a threatened miscarriage. The difference is that in the first half of pregnancy there is no way to save the baby if it comes out...in the second half of pregnancy (at least after 25 weeks) the baby has a fighting chance.
Incomplete miscarriage means just what it sounds like--the mother began to miscarry, but not everything came out. This is commonly diagnosed if she bleeds heavily for more than a few days, and can lead to anemia and other problems due to the severe and prolonged blood loss. A D&C is usually prescribed in these cases.
Missed miscarriage means that the baby has died (usually diagnosed via ultrasound when no heartbeat can be found via doppler), but that the mother have not yet actually lost the baby. In other words, her body is trying to stay pregnant, even though there is no longer a living fetus to support. In most missed miscarriages, once the mother finds out that her baby has died, she will begin to bleed within a matter of days—it’s an amazing proof of the power that the mind has over the body.

Now that you know what they mean, you should know what your options are.

With a spontaneous miscarriage, you typically don't need to worry unless you are in a lot of pain, or have excessive bleeding. You do not need to see a doctor or midwife unless you want to, although if you have begun seeing one then I'd recommend letting him/her know what is happening. Just take it easy (remember that your body is laboring and birthing, albeit in the wrong trimester, and that you cannot and should not try to carry on as normal during this time). Eat iron-rich foods to prevent anemia, drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and take a painkiller if you need or want one. There are a number of herbs that are recommended for helping with miscarriage, but that is another post.
If your bleeding is excessive or prolonged, or you may choose a D&C--I'll explain more about those in a minute.

With an incomplete miscarriage, there is usually a bit of placenta or something like that being retained inside the uterus. It prolongs the bleeding and can lead to hemmorage, anemia, or other complications if you don't get everything out. You should definitely see your doctor or midwife about this. You may be prescribed a medication which will cause your uterus to contract and hopefully get everything to move on out. Depending on the type and strength of the medication, your doctor may wish you to do this under supervision. Alternately, you may have a D&C. An incomplete miscarriage is the one time when I think a D&C is thoroughly warrented.

A D&C, or Dilation & Curettage, is which is where an OB will medically induce dilation of the cervix, and essentially vacuum everything out with a little tube. It is usually carried out with sedation or mild anesthesia--I had mine done under 'conscious sedation' and my mother had one done with just a spinal (ie, she was awake). A D&C is often followed with a little cramping and spotting, but in my experiences at least the after-effects were milder than an average period. Your OB will probably prescribe a painkiller and an antibiotic--I never needed the painkiller personally.

In the case of a missed miscarriage, you have two choices: have a D&C, or wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally. Most women seem to choose the D&C, but I personally advise against it, and here is why. While a D&C may feel easier on your body than days of bleeding, and may seem easier emotionally than having to see the products of your pregnancy, there are some things to consider.
Why I Don't Like Unnecessary D&Cs
  1. Seeing the blood (and yes, possibly a tiny fetus) is hard. Trust me it's really hard. In my own experience though, having a tiny someone to say goodbye to is better than having nothing at all.
  2. The forced dilation of the cervix can weaken it. If you have 2 or more D&Cs you will be at an increased risk for incompetent cervix, miscarriage, or preterm labor for future pregnancies. Your doctor most likely will not tell you this until you are in that subsequent pregnancy and he/she looks at your history and announces that you are high risk!
  3. There is potential for injury during the D&C (cutting or puncturing the uterine wall for example).
  4. Sometimes a missed miscarriage is mis-diagnosed. In other words, sometimes they miss seeing the baby, or the heartbeat...sometimes they tell you that the baby has died or that there is no baby and they are wrong. Sometimes there is a baby and it is just fine. Sometimes there were twins and only one has died. A D&C is what they call it if you wanted the baby, but if you didn't want the baby they'd have called it a 'suction abortion.' It's the same thing--and no, a living baby won't survive it. So again, I recommend waiting and letting nature take its course, because even the most advanced medical practitioners can make mistakes sometimes. (If you'd like to read a whole bunch of stories, visit The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage.)

Finally, a threatened miscarriage. With a threatened miscarriage your baby is still alive! This is key! Sometimes miscarriage is inevitable, but sometimes it is not! There is not really any way to know which way it will go, so (in my opinion) you have to move forward with the assumption that the baby can be saved.
Personally, I would call my care provider. As I mentioned above, you may be prescribed labor-stopping drugs and/or bedrest. Bedrest is hotly debated: some people feel it doesn't make a difference, yet doctors continue to prescribe it. My own thought is that it might help, and it certainly won't hurt, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep my baby. There are a couple of herbs which are considered to be 'smart' about miscarriage--they help things either stay in (if they should) or clear out (if they should). I don't really understand how they work, but midwives and herbalists have been prescribing them for miscarraiges and threatened miscarriages for centuries. More about those in the herb post.

~~~~~

Please, if you have questions about any of this, please leave a comment and I will try to get you answers. I learned all of this "in the trenches" so to speak, and wished I had known so much of it beforehand. We cannot be afraid to talk about these things--women deserve to know what their options are so that they can make the decicions that are right for them!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ten Ways for Mother to Spend Effective Time With Your Children

Quoted directly from Ezra Taft Benson's "To the Mothers in Zion"

First, take time to always be at the crossroads [ie, in the home] when your children are either coming or going--when they leave and return from school--when they leave and return from dates--when they bring friends home. Be there at the crossroads whether your children are six or sixteen. In Proverbs we read: "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Proverbs 29:15). Among the greatest concerns in our society are the millions of latchkey children who come home daily to empty houses unsupervised by working parents.

Second, mothers, take time to be a real friend to your children. Listen to your children, really listen. Talk with them, laugh and joke with them, sing with them, play with them, cry with them, hug them, honestly praise them. Yes, regularly spend unrushed one-on-one time with each child. Be a real friend to your children.

Third, mothers, take time to read to your children. Starting from the cradle, read to your sons and daughters. Remember what the poet said, "You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be--I had a mother who read to me" (Strickland Gillilan, "The Reading Mother"). You will plant a love for good literature and a real love for the scriptures if you will read to your children regularly.


Fourth, take time to pray with your children. Family prayers, under the direction of the father, should be held morning and night. Have your children feel of your faith as you call down the blessings of heaven upon them. Paraphrasing the word of James: "The . . . fervent prayer of a righteous [mother ] availeth much" (James 5: 16 ). Have your children participate in family and personal prayers and rejoice in their sweet utterances to their Father in Heaven.



Fifth, take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. With your husband presiding, participate in a spiritual and an uplifting home evening each week. Have your children actively involved. Teach them correct principles. Make this one of your great family traditions. Remember the marvelous promise made by President Joseph F. Smith when home evenings were first introduced to the Church: "If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them." This wonderful promise is still in effect today.

Sixth, take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible. This is a challenge as the children get older and lives get busier. But happy conversation, sharing of the day's plans and activities, and special teaching moments occur at mealtime because mothers and fathers and children work at it.


Seventh, take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family. Individual scripture reading is important, but family scripture reading is vital. Reading the Book of Mormon together as a family will especially bring increased spirituality into your home and will give both parents and children the power to resist temptation and to have the Holy Ghost as their constant companion. I promise you that the Book of Mormon will change the lives of your family.

Eighth, take time to do things together as a family. Make family outings and picnics and birthday celebrations and trips special times and memory builders. Whenever possible, attend as a family, events where one of the family members is involved, such as a school play, a ball game, a talk, a recital. Attend Church meetings together and sit together as a family when you can. Mothers who help families pray and play together will stay together and will bless children's lives forever.

Ninth, mothers, take time to teach your children. Catch the teaching moments. This can be done anytime during the day--at mealtime, in casual settings, or at special sit-down times together, at the foot of the bed at the end of the day, or during an early morning walk together. Mothers, you are your children's best teacher. Don't shift this precious responsibility to day-care centers or babysitters. A mother's love and prayerful concern for her children are her most important ingredients in teaching her own.
Teach children gospel principles. Teach them it pays to be good. Teach them there is no safety in sin. Teach them a love for the gospel of Jesus Christ and a testimony of its divinity. Teach your sons and daughters modesty and teach them to respect manhood and womanhood. Teach your children sexual purity, proper dating standards, temple marriage, missionary service, and the importance of accepting and magnifying Church callings.
Teach them a love for work and the value of a good education. Teach them the importance of the right kind of entertainment, including appropriate movies, and videos, and music, and books, and magazines. Discuss the evils of pornography and drugs and teach them the value of living the clean life.
Yes, mothers, teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside. This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive. This is the Lord's way of teaching. The Church cannot teach like you can. The school cannot. The day-care center cannot. But you can, and the Lord will sustain you. Your children will remember your teachings forever, and when they are old, they will not depart from them. They will call you blessed--their truly angel mother. Mothers, this kind of heavenly, motherly teaching takes time--lots of time. It cannot be done effectively part time. It must be done all the time in order to save and exalt your children. This is your divine calling.

Tenth and finally, mothers, take the time to truly love your children. A mother's unqualified love approaches Christlike love.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I particularly needed to remind myself of the things I am thankful for.

Long-distance telephone and phone cards
Orange juice
Bacon
Homemade yogurt
Homemade fudgy wudgy brownies
A little boy who loves to help
A bigger boy who loves to help with his little brother
That I can sew, that I enjoy it, and that I’m even able to bring in a little money doing something I love
That we got paid this week
That we have our taxes done and will have our refund soon (and that it’s bigger than I expected!)
That Bear hasn’t really nursed at night in a week!
Finally, I am thankful for cloth pads. They are so much more comfortable than disposables…it was a miscarriage that spurred me to make the switch in the first place, but this is the first time I’ve actually used them for one. I’m thankful that they are comfortable. I’m thankful for velour! I’m thankful that when I used them all up in one day I was able to make some new ones while I waited for the laundry—and don’t underestimate the happiness quotient associated with pretty new pads! I sew a lot of pads for other people, but it had been a looong time since I made any new ones for myself, and I’d never made myself any with velour!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Tibetan Monk and a Himalayan Gorilla

(in the interest of needing something lighthearted this week...or at least something a little snarky...)

Every time my father saw a newborn, be it his own or someone else’s, he pronounced that it looked like “a cross between a Tibetan monk and a Himalayan gorilla.” Of course we always argued with him, saying that our newest little brother or sister was actually very attractive in his or her squished, red, hairless phase…but dad would never relent. Nope, he’d say, newborns are not cute. Within a few months we’d all forgiven him because by then he would agree that said sibling had outgrown the ugly stage and was now cute like the rest of his older kids. Unfortunately, some children do not become cute.
Every so often someone posts some pictures of her kids on her blog, or emails them out to all the family. I know I’m supposed to leave comments about how cute the kids are…but sometimes I just can’t, because some kids are not cute. There’s no other way to say it. Some kids are funny looking and some kids are plain, while a few are even downright ugly; but some kids are definitely not cute. This is only logical; after all, not all adults are cute either, so it stands to reason that those not-cute adults probably came from not-cute kids. It also stands to reason that those not-cute adults would produce additional not-cute kids.
The problem is not so much that the kids themselves are not cute; after all, more than one ugly duckling has grown into a lovely swan. No, the real problem is that, inevitably, their parents think they ARE cute. Parents, somehow, are blinded to reality when it comes to their own offspring.

In case you were wondering, none of this applies to me: MY kids are cute.
(why yes, this is what we do for entertainment in Pelican--and yes, that is our general store)
video

Monday, February 2, 2009

Innocence...Lost

Recently as I've been writing about my miscarriages again, it's gotten me to thinking about loss of innocence. Not in the dirty sense (geeze, what do you take me for?!), but in the sense of a specific event that was a turning point--a point at which you changed, and could never go back to who you had been before. An event that made you older in a way that the simple passage of time cannot.

For my mother it was losing her baby to SIDS. It's easy to pinpoint if you look at photographs--in that year her face aged. She began to get wrinkles. Her eyes showed that she knew something more. Her body lost it's youthful resilience. She looked more tired.
One might credit those changes to the fact that she had 4 other small children, or that she turned 30 that year, or that after a 5th pregnancy the body just doesn't bounce back so well anymore... but I can attest that it was not those things; it was the loss of innocence. I know, because my loss of innocence occurred when I was only 22; it was my first miscarriage.

What was yours?
Or are you still innocent?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Raw

Just for today I hate everyone I know who is pregnant.
And everyone who has gotten pregnant on the first month they tried, or who got pregnant without trying, or who didn’t want to get pregnant but did anyway.
Just for today I hate everyone who has ever taken conception or pregnancy or full-term birth for granted.
I hate everyone who complains about being pregnant.
Everyone who complains about their kids.
Just for today I hate everyone who has never lost a baby, because they do not--cannot--understand.
Because today I’m saying farewell to another baby of mine.




I had hoped that in the next week or so I'd be making an announcement of a different, happier, sort. It's ironic, considering all my recent posts about miscarriage (and at least one more written a while ago but scheduled to post several days hence--because I figured it was better to spread out the posts rather than have them all go up in one week and depress all my readers). But I guess life is like that sometimes.
I never got a positive pregnancy test (it’s hard to get one out here), but I was over a week late and I had lots of symptoms, not to mention that gut feeling of just knowing that I was pregnant. I was ecstatic, although I tried to curb my enthusiasm until I could see those two little lines on a test (one is en route in the mail), but I had no doubt that they would be there. We’d been hoping and trying ever since my fertility returned last fall. The timing could not have been better: our expected moving date would have been in the second trimester (post-morning sickness but pre-enormous belly), and I was due around October 1, the same timing as my first pregnancy 5 years ago. I was looking forward to a healthy and healing pregnancy. I was even starting to think about what animal pseudonym to give this baby when I announced him/her here on the blog.
I suppose the skeptics out there would suggest that I just had a funny cycle and it was a ‘late’ period rather than a pregnancy, but I have a number of reasons for disagreeing with that sentiment, and I am too hormonal and sad to take any unsympathetic comments right now. My eagerly-awaited and much-wanted baby is not mine to keep at this time, and I’m back on the emotional roller coaster of loss.
Every time I posted the story of one of my miscarriages, I wondered how it would have been different if I’d written it at the time it happened, rather than several years after the fact. Well, today I guess I know.

I know there will be other months and other chances, but I wanted this one. Saying goodbye when I’ve scarcely had time to say hello is not as hard as when I’ve had several months to love my baby, but it is still a goodbye. This week I will hug my kids a little bit extra. I will eat too much chocolate and forget to shower and quite possibly leave my hair in the same braid all week. I may spend an entire day in my pajamas…or I may knit 37 rows on Wolf’s sweater. Who knows. But the rest of the world will go on turning, and sooner or later I will have to return to it. I will be different, and the world will neither know nor care.


(and I will be scarce here until my internet gets working again...but I will be back as soon as it is, because outside my Hubby I have no support here, and I need my online friends ♥ )

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