Monday, January 25, 2016

Family Night Week 4: Choosing Happiness

I started out with this lesson's focus being choosing happiness.  Because, let's face it:  life is hard.  Sometimes it's really really hard.  And it is often very easy to feel defeated and just give up.  One of the ways that we decided our family could be more unified is by choosing to be happy instead of grumpy, regardless of life's circumstances.  So that was our topic this week.  But as I was preparing it, I also found a fair amount about being grateful in our circumstances as well...  And that happiness would naturally follow. 

So here's what our family night looked like tonight:

Choosing Happiness

Opening Song:  Count Your Blessings

Scripture:  Mosiah 18:21: And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. {emphasis mine}

Lesson:  link gratitude and happiness.  We read excerpts from Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from April 2014 called "Grateful in Any Circumstance" and we also read a quote by Pres. Monson in this month's Ensign:  So much in life depends on our attitude.  The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference.  To do the best we can and then choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment... We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.  For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude."

(I just happened to see that yesterday when I picked up the Ensign for January for the first time, and I know that was no coincidence!)

Activity:  cut out hearts and each of us said things for which we are grateful, which we wrote on the heart.  We earned jelly beans for each one, which was our treat.

Treat:  the jelly beans :).
And just because I have some really cute kids.... ;)....

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Family Night Week 3: Sharing

As another segment in the "unity" goal, our Family Night last night was all about Sharing.  Which was the thing Lynnaea said she could do (with our suggestive help ;)) to help us have more unity in our family.  (She has had a hard time sharing with Corbin, now that he is mobile and interested in all of her stuff...). 


Opening Song:  Children's Song Book:  'Give' Said the Little Stream

Scripture:  Mosiah 18:21: And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. {emphasis mine}

Lesson:  We talked about how Jesus taught us that we should be nice to everyone.  And one way we can be nice to people -- especially people in our family -- is by sharing!  Then we watched this video for Rainbow Fish (because the library was closed for MLK, Jr. Day and I therefore couldn't go check it out at the last minute (I found this idea on Sunday...).  

Activity:  This idea came from this blog.  I traced the fish (using my tablet, which was awesome!) and then we glued on different colored scales.  4 of those scales were a shiny silver cellophane wrap -- one for each member of our family.  Then we each said something we could share.  (Well, I spoke for Corbin who will share his wooden blocks with Lynnaea.)  I said I could share more of my time with my family members (because it's sometimes hard for me to remember that my time is best spent with my family and not on my own selfish pursuits).  Jeremy said he could share his Wii (which he does already, but it was an example for Lynnaea that she could understand, because she sure does love playing Wii Fit Plus with her daddy!).  Lynnaea decided she could share her lego blocks and also her talking cube.  Then Lynnaea and Jeremy finished coloring Rainbow Fish while I went and got Corbin from his nap.

Treat:  I made tapioca pudding, because Jeremy loves it, and I thought we could use it as one more example of sharing.  When it was time for treat, I announced that, because it was one of daddy's favorite things, it was all for him!  I put the whole bowl in front of him and he pretended to start eating it.  Lynnaea was very interested in treat time and sat watching closely as Jeremy pretended to eat the pudding.  Finally, I said, "Lynnaea, do you think if we ask Daddy to share his yummy pudding, he would share with us?"  She said she thought so, she I told her to ask him if he would share with her.  Of course he said yes.  Then I asked if he would share his yummy dessert with me too.  He said yes and scooped some into our bowls.  And we talked, again, about sharing like the Rainbow Fish and how that can make us all happier.

We decided to tape up our Rainbow Fish to help us remember what we said we could share.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Family Night Week 2

As I mentioned before, we are aiming at having Family Night every week this year.  We may not quite make it, but it's a worthy goal, and we are going to strive for it!  And we have been successful for 2 weeks in a row ;)!

Last week, we began our year by deciding to focus on unity.  As part of our activity, each of us (minus Corbin who cannot speak -- but I'm sure he would have voted for Lynnaea's answer) said a way we can help our family improve in unity and have our hearts knit together in love more.  So I decided we would use those answers for the rest of January's Family Nights.  Therefore, this week we had a Family Night about patience.

Family Night 1/11/2016

Opening Song:  We Are Sowing (as a reminder that how we treat each other is a way of planting seeds.. so we (especially as parents) need to be patient with our children.)

Scripture: Mosiah 18:21:  And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. {emphasis mine}

Lesson:  We read the last section of this talk (the portion called "Patience Today"):  Patience, a Key to Happiness.

Activity:  The activity actually started before the lesson.  We each got one chocolate chip.  If we were patient, and waited until the end of the lesson without eating it, we'd get one more chocolate chip.  If we were too hasty and ate it right then, we only got that one.  I'm happy to report we all got our second chocolate chip.  Though Lynnaea had a hard time not touching hers the whole time.  Haha.  But... she didn't eat it!

Treat:  Lynnaea and I made Snickers Bites cookies (she chose) earlier in the day.  We saved a few for us for family night.  And we packaged the rest to give away!

And just because I can't guarantee that I'll get around to posting extra posts...  I'll add some pictures from recently :).  But they really don't have anything to do with our Family Night.

This was in December.  We went to McDonald's for Emily's 7th birthday.  These two big boys are hilarious together.  I'm pretty sure this was also where and when we picked up the pukey germs we so enjoyed for a week in December :(.
 The three pretty big girls!
 My babies after bath-time in December (before Corbin was crawling).
 Lynnaea's graham cracker house.  She was more interested in eating the stuff than making the house...
 Saria's house.
 Emily's sugar-coma house.
 Benjamin's house.  On the inside, he did detail and made a table with a Christmas turkey (an M&M) on it ;).
 Desiree's house.
Sam went a completely non-traditional route and made Mario Bros. stuff out of the graham crackers. He's pretty creative like that.
 Christina brought over stuff for the kids to each make their own ornaments.  They enjoyed that.
 This is one of the few pictures I took of my kids on Christmas Day.  Pretty sad, huh?  Haha.
 On December 30th, my mom and I took the kids to Keyport to the Naval Undersea Museum.  They have a really cool section for kiddos with underwater books and places the kids can play with felt sea creatures and such.  Super cool!
 We took a picture at the submarine door.
 And then Lynnaea steered a submarine...  Fortunately, she kept us from hitting the ground ;).
 On our way out, we took a quick picture by the sign.  It didn't turn out so well...
 Just a little picture of my baby boy sleeping on me.  It won't last forever, as I've learned.
 Lynnaea got a bike from Chuck and Lea, so Jeremy bought her a helmet and has been helping her on it every so often.  She's still a little short for it and doesn't quite grasp the concept.  But she loves it -- and loves the Care Bear that came with it.  And let's face it:  is there a more perfect bike for the daughter of an 80's lover?
 We're going to try to take a few more family pictures this year.  And maybe we'll even throw in an extra baby (doll) ;).  This was the first Sunday in January.
 Don't be surprised if you see lots of pictures of Lynnaea in this outfit.  It's her new favorite, and the minute I get it clean, she is putting it on.  Sigh.  Also, she thinks pacifiers are toys.
 One day, I built the kids a mini fort.  Lynnaea thought it was cool, and she wanted her brother to join her in it.  So we had to coax him in with toys!
 Last week I took Lynnaea to the Marine Science Center.  We met up with friends.  She got to touch a sea urchin, a crab, and a starfish.  She loved it.
 We got a quick picture with the octopus outside.  Lynnaea was freezing in this picture (her coat had been stuffed in my bag).  Sometimes I look so old.
This little guy loves bath-time.  A lot.  He also loves that duck.
 And he is always looking around to make sure I'm still there.  It's pretty funny.
Sometimes I don't look so old ;).  This was a couple nights ago.  The kids were both pulling my hair.  They thought it was hilarious.  By the way, Corbin is now pulling up on stuff.  My boy is strong.

So there you go.  You're somewhat caught up in pictures ;).

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Corbin: 7 Months

Well, Sweet Corbin...

You've had quite a month!  And you're on the go!  You started crawling before 2016, and now you're all over it!  You also know how to go from a crawling to a sitting position.  But for some reason, you've forgotten how to roll from back to front.  Haha.  Which makes you mad as can be.  Don't worry, you'll figure it out.

You got to enjoy some of life's less-fun adventures in December:  you had a mild stomach bug.  Well, I assume you had it too; though you only threw up once.  I think you had it very, very mildly.  However, we were being extra-cautious, so you got to enjoy a day of just apple juice and pedialyte.  We kind of didn't want to encourage the same stuff your sister had been going through by feeding you anything more than that!  You totally didn't mind.  You were into the apple juice. 

You continue to enjoy your baths, especially all the tub toys.  You visited the Naval Undersea Museum.  And you celebrated your first Christmas and New Year's.  You enjoyed Christmas, but mostly because of all the family you got to see.  You love being around people.

You enjoy squash, multi-grain cereal, rice cereal, bananas, apple sauce, green beans, peas, cheerios, sweet potato puffs, and teether cookies.  You eat your bananas by yourself and have gotten pretty good at it (even if you do still make a mess!).  You're also very skilled at picking up the puffs and cheerios.  The first day you tried was pretty fun to watch, but you figured it out really quickly!  You've finished nursing.  One night, in the middle of the night, you just refused, and that was the end of that.  We had stopped nursing as much anyway, and it was mostly a night comfort thing.  But even that is gone now.  And though a part of me is sad about that, it's also okay.  You're ready to move on, and since it was never sustaining your life anyway, you are just moving on now instead of later.

You are now a really good car rider.  You still prefer not to travel at night, but you have improved so much since when you were little that I can't really complain. 

You are a sweet boy, Corbin-roo.  You still adore your big sister (though she's having a hard time with the sharing bit and accepting that you will sometimes do frustrating things like knock over her block towers).  But this is sibling-hood.  There will be ups and downs.  But you will be the best of friends.  She loves you too.  Every time you wake up after a nap or first thing in the morning, she is quick to smile and call your time and be excited that you're awake.  And she tells you she loves you every night before bed.  And she does.  When she isn't frustrated or jealous, she is very nurturing toward you.  And those are my favorite moments.

You are also improving with night sleeping.  A couple nights ago, you even did a 10 hour stretch!  Mommy was so excited (and would only have been more excited if I wasn't crazy enough to not fall back asleep when I did wake up :/...).  I know these things are bittersweet.  You are accomplishing these things, because you are growing up.  7 months old.  You're now closer to 1 than newborn.  There have been hard days and tired days.  But I've tried to enjoy all of it.  Because these moments will be gone soon.  Your pudgy little baby hand will one day stop grabbing at my mouth and face while you eat your bottle. (You can hold your own bottle, but many times I still prefer to hold you while you eat, especially at night, because I know there will soon be a day when it's no longer an option.)

I love you little Roo.  You're my sweet, precious boy.  I'm grateful you've come to our little family.  Grateful you've come to me to be your mommy here.  I've thought recently about how I worried about being able to love a second baby as much as I love my first baby.  But what I've heard is true:  love grows.  I love you with all my heart and I love her the same.  And there's enough room and enough love to say that.  Thank you for being my sweet boy.  Thank you for sharing your sweet, happy, dimpled smile that makes me smile.  You are a joy.

Love always,


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Family Night Week 1

One of our family goals for 2016 is to have Family Night most (but preferably all) weeks of 2016.  For us, sometimes Family Night will be during the day, due to Jeremy's schedule.  But it doesn't really matter when we hold it.  The point is that we do.

There are great blessings promised to those who hold Family Night.  I believe in those promises, and I want them for my family.  So we are going to work on doing this.

I asked Jeremy one thing he wanted our family to be stronger in.  His reply was unity.  So for January, unity is our focus.

Family Night 1/4/2016:

Opening Song: Love at Home

Scripture: Mosiah 18:21:  And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. {emphasis mine}

Lesson: Focusing on what it means to knit (show examples of knitting and practice playing with the knitting needles and yarn -- since Lynnaea isn't quite able to knit ;)).  Show a beautiful finished knitted blanket to show how beautiful things turn out when knitted together.  Apply to knitting our hearts together as a family by each saying something we can do to help our family's hearts to be more knit together.  Our things were:  not taking toys away from Corbin, working on being less grumpy when life is hard, and being more patient and enjoying the present more.

Treat:  heart-shaped Frozen jello (chilled berry flavor :)).  Here's a picture of those :). (Mostly we used the small double heart cookie cutter, because the big heart was rather big...)
And, thanks to his young age and his ever-helpful sister, Corbin's main job for Family Night was modeling the beautiful pink knitted hat.