Light the World

I kind of knew when I started the 25 days of service that not every day would be blog worthy. What I’m trying to learn this year is to serve despite “ambition”. Serve even when it’s something small and also – recognize that small things are service.

On Mormon.org, one of the suggestions one day was to say nice things behind someone’s back…I would have never thought of that being an act of service. But it is nice that on the really busy days, I can still squeeze in a small act of service. I can donate, I can let someone know I’m thinking of them, I can smile at every person I pass in park (which I did, last Friday). I’m trying to break out of the mindset that service takes a lot of time or money. Although I’m still doing things that take time and money in addition, just not every day.

We’ve made and delivered Christmas cookies to a neighbor, we donated gift cards to our bishopric to give to members of our ward who may need them, bought Christmas stocking stuffers for the missionaries serving in our ward, made a donation to a children’s hospital, etc.

I’ve been trying to mix my service between community, ward, friends and family. I think the hardest to recognize and to do is with my immediate family, the ones I share a house with, the ones I’m always doing things for anyway so it feels like cheating if I use service to them one day.

Overall – it’s been a positive experience so far and I’ve been working on my list of service ideas to do throughout the year. I think I mentioned in the last post, I’m hoping to do one service project a month with Nicky. But hopefully I’ll also be able to teach him how to serve everyday by helping out the people closest to him.

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Day 1 – Freely Ye Have Received, Freely Give

On LDS.org they have an advent calendar. So I’ll just use those quotes as my titles for my service posts.

Jesus taught:

“Freely ye have received, freely give.”

—Matthew 10:8

Jesus made it clear that everything we have is a gift freely given from God. We should be grateful for all that we have and be willing to give just as freely to others. (From Mormon.org)

For day one, I decided to clean my mother’s oven. When I was over at their house on Thanksgiving I saw the dismal state of their oven and I knew then that I would clean it when Nicky had preschool again…which happened to coincide with December 1st.

So for my first day I gave my time and cleaning supplies to show my gratitude to my parents by cleaning their oven. Hopefully it will be a nice surprise for my mom when she gets home and sees it.

Because I’m a nerd, I took before and after pictures.

No say me no

When my niece was little she used to say, “no say me no” which I think was her saying, “don’t tell me no”. I still use her phrase 12 years later. Nicky, has learned the word, “no” and it has made life a little more difficult and certain made every decision take longer. The video you are about to see is real, it’s not a re-enactment, these are not actors. This is a Wednesday morning and what every morning would be like if I actually let my toddler pick out what he wanted to wear instead of limiting his options to two shirts.

By the way – he ended up going with the “friend” shirt:

Fall into this update – see what I did there?

A lot has happened since my last post. At the beginning of October, I was released from my calling with the Young Women. For those of you unfamiliar with how callings work at my church, everything is volunteer. We receive a call from a member of the bishopric and then we serve for a number a years and then we are released. The Bishopric prays about who should fill what callings. A relief society president could become a primary teacher – it’s all based on inspiration and revelation.

I served with the young women for three and half years. We knew the release was coming, just not exactly the when. I got a heads up two weeks before and I didn’t take it well – LOTS of crying. But it was nice knowing in advance so I could just enjoy the time I had left with the girls. This basically sums up my feelings.

The Sunday I was released I was the one teaching- I gave a lesson of Gratitude…which I thought fitting, since I was sad but also very grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know the girls and be a part of their lives.

The next Sunday, I was asked to teach Relief Society the following week. I was beyond stressed. When I first left singles ward I thought being a relief society teacher would be a pretty sweet calling. But after years with the youth I was nervous about teaching adults again. I didn’t have much of an outline, just taught from a conference talk – no other guideline. It was awful! I asked a question and got absolutely NO response. I moved on and I was most of the way done with what I had prepared with 20-25 minutes left!! Luckily I asked a question that seemed to get people talking (or they finally took pity on me) and we only ended a few minutes early. The next week I got a calling to be a Relief Society teacher the second and fourth Sundays…so there’s that. They are changing the curriculum in January to be more the way the youth program is so I guess they thought I’d be a good fit since I already have experience with that. Oh and the YW President was called as the 1st counselor and so she’s still my “boss”- which helps me be more comfortable right off the bat.

Also at the beginning of October, my oldest nephew came for a weeklong visit, followed by a one day visit from his parents. So I was spending a lot of time in the West End with my family there.

Stormy/Nicky (Its easier just to use their real names) started “preschool”. It’s one day a week and they basically just play. But social skills are learning too and I already see a big improvement. Every couple of weeks I get to help out in the classroom and that’s more fun than I thought it would be.

Gertie/Izzy will be 6 months old next week! I can’t believe how fast time has gone. She’s at a really fun stage. Super cute, smiles all the time, and so curious about everything! She reaches for objects and is rolling over. We’ll be starting solids in the next week or so.

Chewy/Matt and I are in a weight loss competition with each other. Not really, but we are both losing weight and I’m very competitive. At first I wasn’t because I had so much extra, you know, having just had a baby. But over the last month or so I’ve really closed the gap. I still weigh more than my husband…but I’m only a few pounds away from him and my pre pregnancy weight.

Let’s see- what else. I’m still writing whenever I can and meeting with my writing group. I still take family photos and continue to work on my photography skills. Oh – and I’m making Nicky a new quiet book. We’re trying to be better about keeping him in the chapel during sacrament meeting – so I thought making a new quiet book might make it fun/easier. I’ll take pics when I’m done. So far it’s not too bad, as long as I don’t compare my work with my Pinterest inspirations of course.

That’s it for now. Here are some photos for making it all the way to the end!

Family Home Evening With a Toddler – Obedience

I mentioned in a previous post that I bought a laminator and have been making family home evening packets.  A lot of mine come from Pinterest, but this week I decided that we needed to learn about obedience (after Stormy ran into a parking lot and continued running even after I told him to stop) and what I found on the interwebs just weren’t cutting it for my two year old.  So I decided to gather things from different sources and compile my very own.

Now, we have a board we’ll use later when the kids are older to make assignments for family home evening (Christmas gift from my SIL – I’ll post a picture at some point), but for now, it’s all on mom and dad, so at least for now things should go together nicely.

We started with a prayer.

Then we sang the first verse of “Nephi’s Courage” from the Children’s Songbook.  Fun fact – I didn’t know that was the title until I had to Google it. I’ve always just called it “I will go, I will do.”

Then we had a story/lesson David’s Lesson, which I pulled off the LDS.org website from the Friend.  (I printed and laminated this for my folder)

For our activity we played Obedience Games that I found on a homeschooling website.  We did “Mother says” first but I think we’ll play one of these games once a day until my child stops doing suicide missions into the library parking lot.

We closed with a prayer and then it was time for treats.  Stormy and I made Rice Krispies Treats (there’s a video in that link too in case you’ve never made these before…not that I’m judging)

That’s all.

General Update

Have I mentioned that we want to move? I’ve been wanting to move since Stormy was born but now Chewy is on board too. The house is just getting too small.

So we’ve been saving for a down payment and working on fixing this house up and we are hoping to move sometime between spring and fall 2018. In the meantime our house continues to wage war against our savings account. I’m not sure who is winning to be honest.

We have a huge list of projects and as time goes by we start wondering what we can just leave, if you’ve seen my neighborhood you know we aren’t going to get back much money on unnecessary upgrades.

A few weeks ago, when I was potty training Stormy actually, we had a lot of rain. At one point I thought I stepped in pee by the fireplace, then later i realized it wasn’t pee but that our fireplace was leaking. It was a bad week for me and I just sat down on the couch and cried because I wanted my toddler to stop peeing on the floor and I wanted to be done with this money pit. Then I bucked up and got to work. I found a company on Google that had great reviews and called them for an estimate. They said they’d have to inspect it first and that would be $199. Seemed steep but when rain water is coming into your house, threatening to mess up your floor, you do it. So they came out, took a picture of the top of my chimney (I guess that was the inspection) and said the repairs would cost $1350….so of course we got another estimate. The next company came to do the estimate (for free but even if they did an inspection it would have only cost $50). The guy sealed the hole for now (for free – thoughtful), and he was knowledgeable and honest with me, he didn’t think as much work as the first company said needed to be done actually needed to be done and he explained to me why. Then – their estimate came in at $600…I’ll let you guess which company we went with. He even explained to me why they came in cheaper. Most chimney companies work on commission, they do not.

Anyway, now that I’ve written my review. So there’s that.

Stormy starts “preschool” on the 15th. It’s a Mothers Morning Out program, it’s not full blown preschool. One day a week, no parties, pageants or field trips. I’m hoping it will be good for him to interact with other kids besides his cousins. Several times throughout the year I’ll be helping out in the classroom. Should be fun to see him in that setting.

We had a bunch of rain last week and Stormy discovered puddles. And I had fun taking slow-mo videos of it.

Gertie is now 3.5 months! Can you believe it? The craziest thing is, I wasn’t even dating anyone 5 years ago and now I’m approaching my fourth anniversary and have two crazy but adorable kids.

My church calling is going well. I’ve been serving in young women’s for about three and a half years. It’s coming to an end soon though and I find it all bittersweet. It will be nice to have my Thursday nights back but I find that going to youth night always makes me feel better and refreshed. It’s hard hanging out with two kids all day. I absolutely love the girls I work with and even though I’ll still see them at church, I know it will be different and I’ll miss them. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for whatever calling is coming next, but it’s hard to imagine any other calling being as fulfilling as this one has been.

I bought a laminator…that’s right, I felt that was update worthy. I’ve been making little family home evening pouches (I’ll do a post on those later) and laminating everything I can think of. I love it.

I think that’s it for the update – I’ll try to be better about blogging more often so that the posts aren’t so long.

Potty update

I realize that I went offline on the potty training bit. I stuck with potty training for five days. They were the worst five days of my life. I got so sick and tired of stepping in pee, cleaning it up and turning around only to step in pee a few feet away. I don’t know how a bladder so small can hold so much urine.

I decided to stop potty training because of a blog post I read (and I’m sorry I don’t have the link right now). The author said that one mistake made about potty training is starting too soon. She compared potty training to walking and talking. You don’t force your kids to do those just as you shouldn’t think you can force them to use the potty in a week. I realized that Stormy isn’t ready. He has shown almost every sign, but I misread his interest in what the potty was with an interest in actually using it.

So I’ve decided to wait until he’s 16 and desperate to get out of diapers because he can’t seem to get a date….just kidding. But I am going to give it some more time. In the meantime we will continue to talk about the potty, we’ll show him how to use it and we’ll encourage his interest in using it himself. It’s just a battle I wasn’t ready to fight and honestly, we’re both a lot happier right now.