Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Stories (More than you wanted to know)

#1: Yesterday, we hosted a bridal shower at our house. One of the guests brought her baby girl. When Sarah saw her, she squealed, "Oh, you have such a cute baby!" Then she watched the baby for a few moments before stating, "But she's not as cute as OUR baby."
I didn't get a picture of the OTHER baby, but here's another picture of Harmony. Don't you think Sarah has a point?#2: Eliza loves all her animals and sleeps surrounded by at least twenty of them. She takes good care of them, too. Here she is feeding one a nutritious snack:
#3: I was nursing Harmony in the nursery the other day when Sarah walked in.
"Are you feeding Harmony?" she asked
"I wish I was a twin baby and could eat like that."
"Well, I did feed you like this when you were little, but you're a big girl now."
"Yes," she said sadly, "but I've forgotten what it tastes like!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pity Party Over

My kitchen is clean, I got two loads of laundry folded, and Wendy and I got a lot done on the yearbook. There's still a lot to do, but I'm not so overwhelmed.

So . . . want to hear about our trips? Last week, my husband took our five oldest children to California to visit Death Valley, Manzanar, and my DH's grandma. They had a great time

While DH was gone, I took the time to visit my parents in Boise. My dad is recovering from a devastating illness and while he's not quite himself yet, he's doing ten billion times better than a few months ago. Because of his illness, my parents lost a Thanksgiving and a Christmas with their family. Before that, they were away for 18 months serving a mission for our Church. So I thought this would be a small way to make it up to them and let them get to know Eliza and Harmony better. Eliza, who initially put on a shy act, lost all pretense when we visited the Boise zoo. She shrieked and laughed and cried out about all the "kitties" and monkeys there. I must say it was so relaxing to have just two little girls to take care of, and I even got in some shopping.

I'm tired

There's piles of stuff everywhere, left over from our trip last week.

The sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and the floor is covered with little bits of cereal and goldfish crackers.

There's mountains of laundry to fold.

I'm hosting two events this weekend, so I've got to get the floor mopped and the bathrooms cleaned.

Today's the day I'm supposed to finish and submit the last 30 pages of the yearbook.

I drove the twins to their preschool only to realize that it was canceled today.

I have our neighborhood preschool at my house tomorrow and Thursday. It's O week so I think I'll do something about the Ocean, but I haven't prepped for it yet.

There's a book on hold for me at the library that I have to pick up today or it goes back on the shelves.

I want to get out the kids' spring clothes and shorts this week.

I have to get over to the records office and get Lillian's birth certificate so she can fly to Chicago with her dad next week.

We're out of milk.

I stayed up too late last night and I wish I could go back to bed.

But I can't. Even if I didn't have four little girls who need my attention, there's too much to do and no one else to do it. So I'm going to stop feeling sorry for myself and get to it. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Because I don't want you to have withdrawals

Have you been enjoying my posts about my other kids -- you know the ones who aren't 7 months old? Good. I'm worried, though, that you might be wondering how much Harmony has changed in the few weeks since I've posted pictures of her. So you won't have withdrawals, I'll post some now. Don't worry, she's still just as adorable as ever. She's even (barely, cautiously) starting to cruise along the furniture. It's so fun to walk in after a nap and see her standing up in her crib.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

OK, maybe two words . . .

Note: This is a follow-up to this post, which you may want to read first. Clear as mud?

In response to a few other questions about my faith, I posted the following on a forum I visit and thought it might be of interest here as well:

Yes, you are certainly right. The ceremony is for members of the Church who are prepared spiritually for it and it is not discussed outside the temple. I guess when we say, "Sacred," we do also mean private and special.

I liked this article's take on the controversy: As it points out, other religions also have sacred places that non-members are not allowed to go.

And as to Big Love being "sensitive" or "accurate" in its portrayal, it is making a mockery of our beliefs to exploit them for profit. No one in our faith would do such a thing, and we are offended that others are doing it. In the article above, it says: "HBO admits it hopes this season of "Big Love" will stir the pot in an attempt to gain more viewers." That certainly sounds like exploitation to me.

I do appreciate that so many of you are sincerely trying to understand rather than condemn.

Quote from another member of the forum: Like I said before, everyone said those Muslims were SO CRAZY for getting so CRAZY about a picture of Muhammed being drawn and I think this is the basically whats going on here. Someone is "drawing a picture" of their ceremony and they are mad about it. But its just a picture and its only sacred and holy to them.

I respectfully disagree. First, while there are some similarities in the Muslim belief that Mohammed should not be portrayed and our belief that the temple ceremony is only intended for the Lord's house, no one that I know is calling for a holy war, committing acts of terrorism, or even starting flaming wars against HBO. We are simply standing up and saying that we do not agree with what is happening.

And even if these things are sacred and holy only to us, that's still millions of people who feel that way. Isn't there a place for respect for other's beliefs even if you don't understand them?

I've been in lots of Catholic Churches in my life to see the beautiful artwork and paintings on the walls and have always acted with respect and reverence towards those who are there to worship. I do not make the sign of the cross or light a candle when I pray, but I respect those who do and I wouldn't do anything to offend them. All we are asking is the same respect for our beliefs.

The temple is a special place for us, as it was in ancient times. If you read your Bible, you'll find that it was always a place of reverence and a place that was restricted only to believers. Only certain Israelites, for example, were allowed to carry the ark of the covenant.

One of our leaders, Elder David A. Bednar, has said that our temples are places for the highest sacraments of the faith. "Everything in the temple is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and on our Heavenly Father and the plan of happiness which He provided for us. Everything in the temple is ennobling and uplifting and edifying. There's a great peace in the temple."

Central to our practice is the belief that God communes with man today, both through the Holy Ghost and through modern prophets called the same way as Noah, Isaiah, and Peter were. When we go to the temple, we go to be taught by the Lord and to ponder on His plan for our lives.

When you take our worship out of the context of the temple and the way we feel about our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, you are dishonoring our worship and making a mockery of what we believe. Doing so "merely" for entertainment purposes, to me, is like the moneychangers outside the temple in Christ's day. Jesus himself was offended and overturned the tables, "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." Matthew 21:12-14

We believe that the temple is the House of the Lord. On every temple is written the words "Holiness to the Lord. The House of the Lord." You may not agree with us, but please respect that our beliefs are sincere and deeply felt.

edited to add:
To read more about this issue, here are two articles about this subject that I enjoyed:
Letters Better Off Not Sent by Orson Scott Card
Is Something Sacred? by Terrance D. Olson

And here is a short video from my Church entitled Why We Build Temples:

A Word about Respect -- and Temples

Last Friday, my family was able to go to the Draper Temple Open House. It was a beautiful experience to share the temple with my children and to see the lovely workmanship everywhere. Afterwards, we got a picture of the whole family in the visitor's center there (after eating cookies, so don't expect perfect faces!).

On a twins forum I participate in, the question was raised about the recent decision by an HBO show to portray LDS temple ceremonies. Specifically, the person wanted to understand why something like that would make members of the Church angry.

I posted this response, and I thought I'd post it here for those interested in learning more about our Church and temple worship:

I don't think we're angry about anything, speaking as a member of the Church. We are disappointed. For one thing, Big Love promised when they began the show that they would make it clear that Mormons do not practice polygamy and haven't for over a hundred years, but they have not kept their promise and continue to cause confusion -- for example, in this very thread, someone said something about the raid in Texas on an "LDS" temple. That raid had absolutely nothing to do with the Church I hold dear. The FLDS is a splinter group with very extreme beliefs that are as different from my Church's beliefs as the Muslims are from the Jews. Their "temple" is nothing like the temples in my Church.

I am offended that Big Love would take cheap shots and desecrate the religions of others in order to boost their own ratings. For me, they are being insensitive and boorish.

The LDS Church has made a statement here:

If you are interested in our Church's beliefs about temples, you can read (from the source, not those who misconstrue and distort our beliefs for their own profit and gain) here. (I've posted this below as well for those who are too lazy to click through -- you know who you are!)

Before temples are dedicated, any member of the public is allowed to tour through the temple. I recently went with my entire family to tour a new temple soon to be dedicated in Draper. Inside the temple you will find a baptismal font and beautiful meeting rooms. The Lord's people have always had temples, from the tabernacle carried in the wilderness by Moses to the temple of Solomon to the temple mount in Jerusalem. We believe that our Church is the restored Church of ancient times and that includes the sealing power given to Peter (restored means to bring again something that is lost). In our temples, we create eternal family units and learn about heaven.

After a temple is dedicated, it is open only to those who carry a recommend. We are interviewed by our local bishop and stake president to determine whether we are ready to enter the temple. We are asked about whether we are honest in our dealings with our fellow man, if we are active in our Church, and if our conduct towards our families is in harmony with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are asked about whether we have a testimony of Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is a chance for us to evaluate our lives and understand the sacredness of the temple.

I'd be willing to answer any questions one may have about our temple ceremonies. They are sacred and special to us and so we don't discuss the details of them outside the temple, but they are not secret. I'm disappointed in Big Love's decision on this.

(From Temples and Family History

In the temple, priesthood ordinances for the living and the dead are preformed, and sacred covenants are made. The primary purpose of the temple is to “seal” or unite families together for eternity.

For this reason, Church members search out information about their ancestors. The Lord has commanded His people to build temples. One such command was directed to Solomon, who proceeded to build a house of the Lord and the most sacred structure on earth. Earlier, the Israelite’s tabernacle in the wilderness served as a temple, and there was a temple in the time of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus Christ restored His Church through Joseph Smith, He again directed that temples be built. In the temple, sacred covenants are made and worthy members? are endowed with a gift of power and knowledge from on high.

In the more than 100 holy temples worldwide today, members:

* Learn eternal truths.
* Receive sacred ordinances, including those that bind husband and wife together for eternity, as well as join children and parents ( Malachi 4:5).
* Perform ordinances such as baptism in behalf of those who have died without the opportunity to receive the gospel, making it possible for those who choose to accept them to return to live one day with Heavenly Father ( 1 Peter 4:6 and 1 Corinthians 15:29).

Visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds at any temple and attend open houses prior to dedication, thereafter only baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated.

Members of the Church are actively involved in family history work. This work is to identify their ancestors and enable them to bind their families together for eternity in holy temples.

The Church operates the largest genealogical library in the world—the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Open to the public with no fees for any of the services, the Family History Library offers access to millions of volumes of birth, marriage, death, and other records. The Church also operates branch libraries throughout the world that are open to anyone interested in family history.

You may trace your ancestors and find information about family history resources at the Church’s family history Web site. You may also print your own family tree. )

Friday, March 06, 2009

Every Family Has a Kid Who Won't Eat . . .

Michael is ours. If we let him, he'd survive on fruit snacks, apples, and pizza. His discriminating palette disdains about three-quarters of our regular menus, even such fare as meatballs, plain rice, tacos, soup, chicken casserole, and more. He'd rather go to bed early than lower his standards and try such vittles.

But I digress. Now that you know so much about Lillian and Joseph, you of course are dying to hear about Michael. He's an interesting child, imaginative and creative and cut from a different cloth than my other kids. He's entertaining and fun.

Almost 7

Hobbies & Interests:
Pirates, Pirates, Pirates, Books about Pirates, Pirates, Riding his Bike, Legos, Pirates

Most Likely to:
* Engage his friends in elaborate pretend games, usually about pirates
* Dress up daily for play
* Wear a belt so he can have a place to put his sword
* Visit the neighbors dressed in his pirate get-up
* Play with Allison and Sarah and lead them in fun make-believe games
* Enjoy recess at school
* Whine
* Get offended when he is teased by his family
* Insist that we stop talking about imagination
* Do his chores with minimal reminders
* Play with friends often
* Entertain himself wherever we are
* Draw pirates
* Lead his sisters in silliness

Least likely to:
* Wander far from home
* Think in his head instead of saying all his thoughts aloud
* Try different foods

Sometimes gets in trouble for:
* Whining
* Arguing with Joey
* Being easily offended by his siblings
* Yelling

Likely Future Career:
* Pirate -- but the good, honest kind
* Illustrator
* Actor
* Home builder
* Explorer
* Photographer

My favorite things about Michael:
* Michael greets everyone as a friend. He's not concerned with fighting authority, just with making friends with it. A recess monitor once told me she loved Michael because he was always talking to her about everything
* Michael makes us all laugh. He's a natural ham who can really lighten the mood around here.
* Michael, though fun-loving, is thoughtful about risks and hazards and unlikely to put himself in harm's way. When he started crawling up the stairs in our split-level house, I never had to put a gate at the top because he simply wouldn't get close enough to the stairs to fall down. His little mind considered the danger and stayed away, as simple as that.
* Michael has a sensitive side. He listens intently during the lesson in Family Home Evening. He has a believing heart.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Simplifying Bed Sheets

Washing and dealing with bedding can take a lot of time. To simplify things around here, we do the following:

1. Except for my oldest daughter, age 9, we only use fitted sheets and mattress pads plus blankets on our children's beds. It simplifies daily bed-making considerably, as all that's needed is to either spread the blanket over the bed or fold it and place it at the foot of the bed. It also takes up a lot less room in the washer to wash a child-sized quilt or blanket rather than a bulky comforter.

2. We wrap our mattresses like a cocoon, with layer after layer of waterproof mattress pad and fitted sheets. I stocked up on washable waterproof mattress pads last time they were 60% off at Shopko (make sure you buy the washable kind; I've had some that fell apart in the dryer, even on low heat), and recently bought lots of nice fitted sheets for $1.99. On one son's bed right now, I have 5 layers!

This way, when it's time to wash the sheets, I only have to peel off one fitted sheet and one pad to wash, leaving a new set underneath clean and ready to go. Believe me, when a child throws up in the middle of the night, the last thing you want to do is tussle around putting new sheets on their bed.

One mom I know swears by buying only white sheets for all her beds so that she can bleach them and make them last longer, but I've yet to try that tip!


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