My faith

I'm a Mormon.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A stroller for the twins

Many of you who read this blog know about my little sister Whitney. She and her husband Evan have been down a hard road, but we are so excited about their twins, who could arrive any time now that Whit is 32 weeks! Hopefully the babies bake a few more weeks, but the end is definitely in sight.

Now I need to ask for a favor. We have been wanting to do something really nice for them. Something that would be useful and appreciated. You see, Evan is in medical school, and funds are tight. And this is their dream stroller:
The only problem? This stroller is almost $500. (And that is with my REI discount!) Some might argue that they could get a much cheaper stroller, but this is a top-of-the-line stroller. It lasts decades. It is really great! And sometimes, when you have had 2 babies born still, you just want something nice for the babies that you have.

Will you help us? In essence we are throwing them an online "stroller shower!" And YOU are invited! $5-$10 would be SO appreciated in meeting our goal!!

For information on how to contribute to this gift, please contact me at crystalDOTdeardenATgmailDOTcom.
Thank you!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Musing on Motherhood

Motherhood has been on my mind a lot lately.  It's no wonder, I am a full-time mom to three little girls!  But I've had a couple of thoughts in particular that I need to write down!

Becoming a mother to my first daughter was heaven!  When she and I were together, I felt like I was born to mother. Every second was a fulfillment of my lifelong desire to raise children! (Well, maybe a few of those sleepless nights were annoying, but they were outweighed by the giggles, games of peekaboo, songs, and general joy a baby can bring!)  I recall a specific instance of feeling proud of myself for never even feeling angry or annoyed at my child.  She was nine months old or so and I felt so successful.  I was so patient, so caring, so engaging.  Motherhood, while I knew it wouldn't be easy, would be something I enjoyed every second of.

Now I look back and laugh at my 25-year-old self.  I also feel a little pity.  She had no idea what was coming.  The heartache of having a child you can't comfort.  The embarrassment of a child flinging herself on the floor in the middle of Hobby Lobby.  The years (literally) of only a handful of nights of uninterrupted sleep.  Not to mention all the "You're the meanest mom ever!"s and  "I'm not your kid anymore!"s.   I thought I was patient THEN!?  And then people tell me it's going to get worse?  My oldest is only 5!! (PS if you are a mom to teens, please don't dishearten exhausted young mommies by telling them it only gets worse!  Just give them a hug and offer to do their dishes!)

It took me a while to put my finger on why motherhood has become so hard for me.  Why do I sometimes have days when I wish I could be doing ANYTHING ELSE?  Why do my patience and sanity seem to hang by a thread with every small trial? The answer came to me last week.  My entire life, things have come pretty easy.  Learning and school were simple, college wasn't bad, I felt like I was progressing in my career as a teacher and was naturally competent in that field.  But nothing compares to motherhood.  It's not easy for me!  It is all-day, all-night, day in and day out with little thanks and rare golden moments that make it all worth it.  Growing up, with a little effort I could master a skill.  But just when I think I can handle a tantrumming toddler, I get thrown some major kindergartener attitude and I feel like all the skills I have developed are meaningless.

Tonight I was talking to my dad on the phone.  I told him that I felt I needed to get my teacher re-certification done soon.  He asked me why.  The answer I gave had some weight, but it didn't really describe my true feelings.  I told him that sometimes I forget that I used to know stuff.  That I used to be good at stuff besides washing dishes and changing diapers.  Perhaps I need to dig deeper to realize how much I know about maintaining a home, budgeting, child development, teaching, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and many other things that I could never have learned as well had I not chosen to become a mother!

Does the answer I gave my daddy make it seem like dishes and diapers are a drudgery?  Motherhood is anything but monotonous to me.  I mean, at any given moment I could be trying to problem solve my toddler's tantrum, while helping my three-year-old clean up the lotion she rubbed on every square inch of the bathroom (while having the chat "lotion is for grown-ups and it costs money, so you don't get to touch it, ok?"), or teaching my five-year-old how to read (and trying not to get frustrated that she still sometimes just can't tell "b" from "d".  Darn those letters that mirror each other!)

When I really think about it, my life can not be called boring.  It's still hard, and compounded by the fact that my husband works a lot.  I won't go there in this post but if often feels like I'm the lone warrior in a huge battle. (Come to my house at bedtime if you want to see the battle in action!)

So there you have it.  My meandering thoughts on motherhood.  I'm more patient now that I ever thought possible, and hopefully I will gain even more patience and perspective before the "teenage years" set in.  Can I be honest?  I am just going to be SO excited when I don't have to help wipe bums, hold the 3 year old down to brush her teeth, or constantly get healthy snacks for hungry bodies. (Why are my kids always desperately hungry 20 minutes after dinner?!)  I have hope that they'll be able to do those things on their own at some point.  But will I miss the requests for more tickles, playing "I'm gonna get you!", and snuggling sweet-smelling littles while reading books?

I'll end with the words of a wise mother: "Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. 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." Julie Beck

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Misery...

                          Sinus Infection
          Being a mom of little kids
+ Busy Season for the Husband
______________________
A rough week at our house



Friday, February 15, 2013

Pornography is NOT OKAY!

A few years ago my sister mentioned something on her blog about the harmful effects of pornography.  I should go and find that post, but I don't think that was even the main point of the post.  However, the backlash from some of her readers was astounding.  So many people justifying the viewing of pornography!  Some even tried to convince themselves that watching porn with their husbands enriched their relationship!  Really?  Do you really think your husband is thinking about YOU when he sees other humans objectifying themselves?

Over the last few years, I have read a lot and seen people I love being harmed by pornography use.  And it isn't just men!  I knew a girl in high school who was ADDICTED to trashy romance novels.  I don't think it served her well.

I am SPEAKING OUT!  ENOUGH!  As a Latter Day Saint, I believe that one of the greatest gifts God gave us (After His Son, and agency) was a BODY!  That body is the home for our spirit.  Each person on this earth is a Spirit Son or Daughter of God.  But the entire point of pornography is to view each other as objects that we can use for gratification.  I have had yucky guys check me out.  It's disgusting.  I feel violated.  I don't wear provocative clothing (although even if I did, I still deserve to be treated as a human and not a piece of meat!).

Pornography is NOT OK.  Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is NOT ALRIGHT!!  It's wrong!  Women, where are our voices?  Why aren't we united against this degrading mind-washing scheme!

I love the group Beauty Redefined.  Read their research!  The things they write are SO important!

I know this post isn't the most eloquent, well-written post.  Someday my kids will be older and I'll will have time to proof-read and revise my writing.  But it is still important!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just a thought

Since becoming a mother almost five years ago, my life has been filled with minor anxieties about teaching my children.  I believe I am equal to the task, but it seems there is a lot of room for parent failure!  Fortunately, I am doing my best to seek the help of my Heavenly Parents.  I have thought a lot about how Heavenly Father and Mother (I see no reason to leave her out, I feel confident that she and I were very close in the pre-mortal realm and I love her!) parent us.  The Eyre's wrote a great book that gives lots of lessons we can learn from our Heavenly Parents, and I won't go into those.  BUT, a few minutes ago I did have a thought, and I thought I would share it and let you take it where you want.

When the Savior fasted for forty days at the beginning of His ministry, he was then tempted by the devil.  I have borne testimony to my children many times about the reality and divinity of the Savior.  But I think it's important to remind them that Lucifer is real, and that he wants to claim us.  In D&C 76, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery bear powerful testimony of Jesus Christ.  "He lives, for we saw Him, even on the right hand of God." (verses 22-24) Then, they are shown in vision the fall of Satan. (verses 25-30)  "And this we also saw, and bear record."  I wouldn't call it a testimony of Satan, but it is important to acknowledge that yes, he is real.  And He "maketh war with the Saints of God."  

So, the conclusion I draw from this is that not only must we warn our children of Satan's desire to have power over us, but perhaps one way they can combat his temptations is by using the same strategies the Savior did when he was tempted after a period of fasting.  Our family will be studying these scriptures and seeking to learn how to make it through these temptations.  

How do you teach your children to withstand the temptations of the devil?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving books

Thanks to Goodreads, I found a list of Thanksgiving children's books.  I've already put some on hold at the library.  I may order our favorites through Amazon.  Or maybe not.  Because I just bought a Blendtec, and I'm not allowed to spend any more money for like a year.

ps.  If you like reading, join Goodreads.  It's my favorite.  :)

*Image from Amazon.com

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Advent

Remember this little girl?

She turned one.  In August.  And she still doesn't sleep "through the night."  I use the term "sleep through the night" quite loosely, but this babe still wakes up every three hours.  After the first round of sleep training, I spent 5 months with a baby who would not be put down, nor let anyone else hold her.  We've tried sleep training her a couple times, and the last time was working until she got a bunch of ear infections, and then started teething.  So we're trying again.  I just have to say that if I could go back to my first-time-mother self, I would tell myself to not worry about "sleeping through the night."  lol.

Isn't she just a sweetie though?  Love this blue-eyed darling!

 Blogging has just been on the back burner.  It still is, but I wanted to share this idea, even if it is a tad tardy.

Thanksgiving Advent:

Nov 1. Make advent activity chain and introduce gratitude to kids (hopefully they already get it!)
Nov 2. Write a list of people we can thank (brainstorm, all the people who help us in our lives)
Nov 3. Service project: Make a few sack lunches and hand them out to people standing outside parking lots of stores.  There are always people in our area.
Nov 4.  Tell the story of the 10 Lepers. Memorize Alma 7:23
Nov 5 F.H.E. (Family Home Evening) about gratitude, begin gratitude journal with each child.  Each night after stories we will talk about what we are grateful for that day and write it down, draw a pic, etc.)
Nov 6. Visit retirement center and sing songs, or do Thanksgiving art project. (think Pinterest)
Nov 7. Read Thanksgiving books and sing Thanksgiving songs. (I'll give suggestions soon!)
Nov 8. Bake bread (or some treat) to take with thank-you notes the next day.
Nov 9. Write & deliver anon 5 thank you notes w/ bread
Nov 10. Service project: make a baby blanket (or several) for people in need (local hospital, women's shelter, etc)  This should be fun to get my kids started with some basic sewing!
Nov 11. Memorize Alma 37:37, write a thank you note to some one in the military.
Nov 12. F.H.E. Do thy alms in secret. 3 Ne 13:2-4
Nov 13. Art Project with our playgroup friends.
Nov 14. Write and illustrate our own thanksgiving book (I'll let the girls guide this one, they can retell the first thanksgiving, tell a story about gratitude, etc.  It will be a shared writing experience.  :)
Nov 15. Make caramel popcorn to take with thank-you notes the next day.
Nov 16. Write and deliver 5 anon thank you notes. (Emphasize "doing alms in secret" with the kids.
Nov 17. Service project.  I plan on calling a local shelter to see what we can do, maybe we'll try and collect coats and shoes, or something simple my preschoolers can help with.
Nov 18. Memorize Psalms 100:1-5
Nov 19. F.H.E. Love our enemies 3 Ne 12:44
Nov 20. Act out the first Thanksgiving with costumes we made.
Nov 21. Art Project: dinner table centerpiece and decorations.
Nov 22. Thanksgiving day 5k as a family!!

For the last 2 Thanksgivings (is that a word?) I've wanted to do something purposeful to help my little ones really understand the Holiday!  Hopefully we will stick to our fun schedule.  And if not, well, I guess I won't blog about it. :)

Things to read Thursday

A few weeks ago my dearest friend, Annie, mentioned that her girls were reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle for their K-12 home school curriculum.  Because Annie knows my 4 1/2 (can't leave out the "1/2" or I get in trouble) year-old well, she suggested I try reading it to DD1.  We checked it out this week and began reading it.

DD1 is fairly interested, and pays attention, although there are quite a few words she doesn't understand yet. It gives us a lot to talk about.  I, however, am LOVING this book!  So clever, so fun, so informative.  I wish I had a parrot so I could try the "answer-backer cure."

So go read it to your kids.  :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Respect

I recently came across this photo on Facebook:
I was appalled, for several reasons. For the record, I'm not as against spanking as some people I know. But I never actually feel good about spanking. The main reason I don't spank is because I don't think it's right to treat people that way, and children are people too. Also, I know myself well enough to know that if I did totally fly off the handle, I might hurt my child. One stern pat on the bum: not too much of a problem. But that's not how I was spanked as a child. And when I got spanked, I was angry, and devastated, and hurt (physically and emotionally). I felt manipulated. Nobody should have that kind of power over another human being.

As followers of Christ, we should be especially cautious about using corporal punishment to "control" our children. Joseph Smith said that “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 3:54.)

In Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 we read that those who offend littles ones would be better off with a millstone hung around their neck and drowned in the depths of the sea! In that same section we find the formula for any stewardship, which I think includes parenting:

 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

 43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; 

Wow! What a formula! So first we try to persuade. We are patient (that's the long-suffering part), we continue in gentleness toward them (I don't think spanking could be categorized as "gentleness.") and by LOVE UNFEIGNED! Then comes the part that many misapply and misinterpret: "reproving betimes with sharpness. Sounds like spanking might be included in that. But if you look up the definitions of some of these words, you find something interesting!

Reprove: (1) To scold or correct usually gently or with kindly intent. (2) To express disapproval of

Betimes: In good time; early.

Sharpness: There are many definitions for this word, but I don't think any of them apply in this case. You might think that "sharp" would mean "harsh" but that contradicts verse 41. I think it matches more closely to the concept of vision. If you see something sharply, you see it crisply and clearly. It is my opinion that in this verse, the connotation is "clarity."

Translation: In disciplining our children, we must gently correct early or quickly with clarity. As disciples of Christ, I do not think it becomes us to do anything that brings harm to others. We also know that "Whosoever is angry...is in danger of the judgement of God (3 Ne 12:22)." I don't know about you, but I have never seen someone spank their child who wasn't angry. Myself included.

 Now that I've explained some doctrine related to how we should raise our children, I have to refute some of the obvious fallacies of the FB picture I shared at the beginning of this post. I take issue with the first phrase [I] "have to laugh at people who are against spanking." Really? You laugh at people with a different opinion/worldview from you? Hmmmm. Did spanking really teach you to respect others, or just to control or be unaccepting?

 "I didn't hate them[parents]." Really? They whipped your butt and you weren't mad? How subservient of you. Or are you just lying to yourself? "I sure respected them." Now it's my turn to generalize. Older people are super duper famous for forgetting how things ACTUALLY were. Trust me, I've seen it. My dad is convinced that none of his kids ever threw tantrums, and that my hellion brothers were docile and obedient. (yeah, right!) Maybe it's not just older people, all of us tend to have a less-than accurate memory, and we generally want to justify our behavior. Saying "I turned out fine" is quite the cop-out.

 "This is why kids nowadays have no respect for anyone." Well, that's a gross over-generalization if I ever read one! I know lots of respectful kids.  And don't the facts that kids are incredibly entitled, have all the gadgets they want which prevent them from actually interacting with humans, and are required to have very little responsibility have something to do with lack of respect? It's all because they don't get spanked?! Wow! I should start spanking ever day! In reality, the fact is that kids learn respect by being respected. Call me whatever you want, but I refuse to believe that you should respect someone just because they were born earlier.

 I know what you're thinking: "Respect your elders." My motto is different: "respect everyone!" That is what the Savior asked of us! And if I don't respect my kids, then how can I expect respect from them?

 In regards to this "spanking is the best way to parent" photo, my summary is this: 

1. Spanking is ONE strategy. It may or may not work. And for many parents it does not work.

2. There are OTHER strategies. Some of the most successful ones I've used include:
 *distraction and redirection
 *Offering limited choices
 *Be sure your child isn't acting up because they are tired, hungry, or just need a snuggle
 *try and understand where your child is coming from. Empathize with them.
 *occassional rewards.
 *LOTS of love
 *prevention (eg. prevent lying by asking "why did you do this?" instead of "Did you do this?" Make sure they aren't hungry or tired, try and understand what motivates your child and what tempts them)
 *TALK to your kids. Build a warm, trusting relationship
 *Forgive yourself everyday.
 *Forgive your kids every day.

3. Don't judge other people's parenting. Ever. Every parent/child relationship is unique.

4. Don't tell other people how to parent.(I learned this the hard way. Trust me on this one!) You are the expert on your child. God gave you that child for a reason.

5. Do your homework. Learn as many strategies as you can and build skills that can help in tough situations. 

6. Remember that strategies aren't always helpful. Sometimes you just need to take a timeout before you hurt someone!

 When the woman taken in adultery was brought before the Savior, he didn't judge her. He said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I sure wouldn't want someone hurting me because I make a mistake, and believe me, I make plenty! Spanking says to kids "I know what's best for your body and I need to be in control of you." I'm sure grateful to people around me who give me the benefit of the doubt when I mess up! I'm grateful to not have anyone there to yell at me or belittle me. I would like to show the same respect for my children. I will gently correct them early on with clarity. But I have committed to not spank my kids. And for that, please don't laugh. Actually, laugh all you want. I'll still try to respect you.

 *I do have to admit that I have sometimes spanked. But I have never felt good about it. I also would not want anyone to feel guilty for whatever they have done with their children that wasn't abusive.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Treasure Hunt


I LOVE Easter. Celebrating life, and especially the Resurrection of my Savior, is a wonderful reminder that death is not the end, and I am filled with gratitude for His sacrifice and the wonderful gift, given freely to all!

After participating in several Easter Egg hunts that were over in 5 minutes and seemed to have little, if anything, to do with Easter, I came up with an Easter Treasure Hunt. The materials I use are LDS materials, but feel free to improvise. Please link back to this post if you share this idea!

Helpful tips:
*I start by talking to the kids about expected behavior. No pushing, shoving, hitting, bullying, etc. The kids are siblings and cousins, so I don't anticipate too much of a problem. Most of the clues have a "challenge" attached, which everyone must participate in. Grown-ups can help with the reading, and adult participation is required to make this go smoothly.
*I hide all the clues in blue plastic eggs (Blue Clues, so they can remember)
*The oldest grandchild participating can read. This might be too complicated for toddlers and babies. (ok, obviously) We'll see how my 2 1/2 year old will do, but I think my 4-year-old will LOVE it!

Challenge #1:Sing “I lived in Heaven.”
Clue #1: The Wise man built his house upon the _________. Sing the song, the missing word is where you will find your next clue. (This clue is hiding by a big rock in the yard, they will have to run around and search for it).

Challenge #2: Look up Helamen 5:12 on page 378 of the Book of Mormon, and read it out loud together.
Clue #2: Look at this picture (GAK 100 The creation) I am hiding here, Jesus created me on the fourth day. I have wrinkly, rough skin, and provide shade for you on a hot summer day. Find the next clue by finding me.

Challenge #3: Jesus also created our bodies. Do 10 jumping jacks and thank Heavenly Father for your strong, Healthy Body.
Clue #3: Another name for Jesus is “The Bread of Life.” Why do you think that is? Go find some bread to find your next clue. (Next clue hiding in pantry, or bread box, where ever you keep bread)

Challenge #4: Give a hug to someone you love!
Clue #4: GAK 208 Jesus was baptized to show us the way. When we get baptized, we are clean and we show that we will follow Jesus. Find you next clue where you clean your body. (Bath tub)

Clue #5 GAK Jesus was crucified by men who did not understand who he was. When he died, he was laid in a tomb. Find your next clue in a place where one of you lay down at night to sleep. (A bed of one of the children)

Challenge #6: Sing "Families can be together forever”
Clue #6. GAK Because Jesus loved us, he died for us, and then was resurrected! That is what Easter is all about! We can live together in families forever because death is not the end of life! Find your LAST clue in a place that reminds us how Families can be together forever. (hint: it’s a place where Moms and Dads can be married for Eternity!) (A picture of the temple.)

Challenge #7: Each person must tell one thing they believe about Jesus.
Clue #7: JUMP around to find a treasure for each of you! (Easter Baskets are hiding by a the trampoline.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Here we go again.


If you have followed my blog for a while, you might remember when I was about to lose my mind from lack of sleep with DD2.

Well, we're there again. This time with my darling 7 month old, DD3. As I type, she is in her bed screaming. Because I am about to lose my mind.

It is getting pretty bad. I taught a lesson in church yesterday, and although I'm relieved to have made it through the lesson, I was so exhausted that during the discussion I could hardly pay attention. Did I mention that I was giving the lesson? Don't tell anyone, but during parts of the discussion I was totally zoned out. I tried so hard to focus, and just couldn't. At the beginning of the lesson, I even sang in a trio. I started each verse on the wrong note and messed up the words.

My brain is not functioning too well. My head is constantly hurting. My body is physically exhausted.

So she is "crying it out." Call me what you will. Heartless, abusive (yes I have heard those analogies lately describing the kind of parent I have become.) But something's got to give.

I think she'll be ok.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Multigrain bread

The ladies over at Our Best Bites shared a fabulous multi-grain bread recipe. I am in H-E-A-V-E-N! And I pretty much subbed out all the white flour for whole-wheat. Because that's how I roll. Happy Bread making!