Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Agency - Choice & Accountablility #3

I was recently given the opportunity to teach Sunday School to the 12-13 year olds at church. The lessons for the month of November were about Spiritual and Temporal self-reliance.  I got to teach lessons about finding answers to questions, making choices, and setting goals. As the teacher, I had to prepare to teach by reading the suggested scriptures and read or listen to the conference talks. It is true that the teacher always learns the most.  It has been great to review the topic of agency with my class and see how they get to apply it in their young lives.

I have also been struggling to teach Molly to be accountable and to choose to obey. She is only 4 but she can learn that their are consequences to her choices.  She loves to throw tantrums at the store when she wants something and doesn't want to hear me say "no" or "wait".  She is learning, hopefully, that when she acts calmly and accepts my answers to her requests she will be better off than when she demands something and then throws a tantrum when it doesn't go her way.  We end up walking out of stores to go sit in the car, quite often, until she can be calm and we can return to our errand. This is quite an uphill battle with Molly.

It is true that we have agency. We can behave in what ever way we wish. We just don't get to choose the consequences.  It is a blessing to be able to make choices. It was Satan's plan to force us to obey. We wouldn't have been able to make decisions on our own and therefore would never have learned what is right because we were never allowed to choose and see what came of those desisions. Agency is what allows us to grow and progress.  By having the freedom to make our own choices we control our own destiny or our own outcome.  Sure life isn't smooth sailing even for those that seem to do everything right. By having agency, even when there are struggles and difficulties in our lives, we get to make choices, we get to pick how we will react and proceed. It is all part of why we are here. We are being taught and tested to see if we can follow God even when there are many choices before us.

I love the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 82:10. I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say you have no promise. When I am obiedient and follow the laws given to us from the Lord then I get the promised blessings. I will have the spirit in my life to guide me, comfort me, and teach me. I will be happier when I choose good because I will be surrounded by virtuous, lovely and honorable people and things.  I will be able to avoid a lot of hardships by making good choices

I look at the faces of my Sunday school class. They look so young and yet they have so many important decisions ahead of them. So many choices they make everyday, even at so young an age, will affect the direction their life goes in future. I am really enjoying my new calling as Sunday School teacher. I love the new Come Follow Me program. I am only acquainted with the Sunday School portion and have only this one month of experience with it but I can already see that it is very inspired and needed. The young people today are faced with so many more temptations than I remember dealing with at their age. Maybe I lived a sheltered life in a small town but it just seems more important to teach and guide them to make good choices than ever before. We live in a world where everyone whats the good life and to what ever they want but don't want to accept the repsonsibility of those choices.  It is important to understand the concept of Agency and to realize that we are accountable for our choices.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Came Early

Doesn't the boxes and wrappings remind you of Christmas morning?  Well, Christmas came a little early for our kids this year. 

I ordered the kids Christmas gift two days ago. It was supposed to take two weeks to come. But three large boxes were delivered yesterday so of course we couldn't wait to open them up and dig out what was inside.

For two hours we worked on our project and now the kids have a trampoline. They wanted a rectangle shaped tramp not a round one. Evidently rectangle ones give you a better bounce.

 There is room enough for flips.  That was why Henry really wanted a trampoline. He needed to practice his gymnastic stunts.

I see hours of backyard fun ahead! 
But now what are they going to open on Christmas morning?

The Tech Museum

My kids are always asking me when I would take them to the Tech Museum again. We had a family membership years ago, before Molly was born and went a few times during that year. So my kids were really excited when I told them our co-op would be going as one of our field trips. 

 There were quite a few new exhibits and many of the same ones. Even though the kids haven't been for years they could tell me exactly which things were new and which things had only been moved around.
 The other kids wandered around the museum with their friends doing the different activities. I hung out with Molly. She especially enjoyed and stayed at the spots where she was able to move things around or make something happen just by touching it.
 Every once in awhile I would run into Sophie and her friends while following Molly around.
 The boys really enjoyed the space exhibit where they got to move the jet pack and try to lazer the lights.

 I think I watched Molly ride the Earthquake simulator at least 20 times. Somehow I never did take a picture of her on there. That was her favorite spot in the museum. 

It was a fun field trip. My feet were so tired by the end of the 3 hours we spent here. We are still heading into the city every Friday because Ian has Lego League and co-op but we will soon be stopping these weekly trips. We certainly have loved our homeschool co-op and will have to try to find a new one a little nearer to our new home.

Friday, November 22, 2013

That Worn in Feel

The other day Sophie made an observation as we were driving down the road. She said, "It feels like we are on vacation and will be going back to our normal life". The other kids quickly agreed with her statement. I admit, it does sort of not feel like real life yet.  Moving, after living in the same area for 13 years, has really been... I don't want to say hard but change is hard.  Our "new real" doesn't quite feel comfortable yet. I guess it is like getting a new pair of shoes or new jeans. They just aren't form fitted to your foot or body yet. They may be your size and look good on you, but they just don't have that worn in feel to them. This new house, new neighborhood, new ward, new friends and new neighbors just don't quite feel natural yet.

Sophie received some very kind mail today that set these feelings into motion and made me recall her earlier comment. She got a card from the Young Woman leader in our former ward with all the girls signing it. It was accompanied by a picture of the 9 girls that made up the YW from that ward, Sophie included.  Along with this card, the mail also contained a package from her Sunday School teacher. The 11 &12 year old girls made a little scrapbook with pictures from their different activities during class throughout the year. They used to act out a lot of the church history stories and the teacher took pictures of the girls in their costumes. Sophie had the best Sunday School teacher! She was so lucky to have this wonderful lady teach her class.  Sophie quickly took the picture, card and scrapbook to her room and put the picture in a frame to place on her night table. I admit I got that homesick feeling and a little teary eyed while looking at the pictures and reading the lovely comments with her.

There have been many moments like this where it is difficult to remember that those people aren't a part of our daily or weekly life. They have been a part of so many of the great memories of our years there. We miss those people a lot! To continue the comparison, it is like those worn in, faded, but comfortable jeans are suddenly no longer wearable. There is a hole or stain or something that takes them out of the wardrobe rotation. You have to just have to let them go and wear a new pair.  The new pair after many wearings soon become worn in and no longer rub or pinch and they become the new favorite. It just takes time for the process to happen.

It would be really nice if everything in our new everyday life fit us perfectly. It is hard not to make comparisons to or miss the normal of our prior days. It will take many years and frequent wearings before this new pair of jeans feels as comfortable as the pair we loved and had to leave behind. We make adjustments and changes and soon this "Vacation life" will feel more like home.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First Lego League

Saturday was Ian's first taste of what First Lego League competition is like. His team the SharkNados pitted their robot against 11 other teams to see how many points they could gather on the Nature's Fury board provided by First Lego League. 

Ian's team consisted of boys 9 to 14. Ian was by far the youngest. All the other boys were at least 12. He seems so little standing next to them.

I spent the entire day with Ian and his team. I got to talk to the other moms and his two coaches.
 This is his Mentor coach who was one as software engineer for HP. He actually was coaching two teams at this competition and has four different teams he coaches. He loves to teach kids how to program and build with legos. He admitted that he coaches so he too can play with the robots!

The boys got to have a warm up round. It didn't go so well. Some of the programs that worked everytime didn't seem to be working today. 

As I sat talking to one of Ian's coaches she wanted me to know that most of the programing, 80% of all the programing for their different runs were all done by Ian.  She was very impressed with some of the programs he came up with. Evidently he used the Gyro sensor for one of the runs which required the robot to keep to a certain angle while moving an ambulance to a certain place on the board. She explained that there wasn't any other team there that used the Gyro sensor.

 After some time on the practice boards and making small changes to the program or the build of the robot the boys had a better next run and an even better one the next time. They were in Third place going into their third a final timed and scored attempt.
 They boys cheered as one of the runs that hadn't been working all day finally worked. But were so disappointed when their robot was about 3 seconds short of getting to the safe zone when time was up.
 At the end of the long day of competition the boys came in 5th but get to advance to the next level.  They were all happy but have some work ahead of them for the future. Ian has years ahead of him doing First Lego League. He held his own with this group of older boys. He contributed quite a bit to the building and especially the programming of the robot. I am so proud of him!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

While we wait

 On Sunday mornings when the kids are all ready to go but one or the other of the parents is busy running around doing last minute things seems to be the best time for a quick photo shoot.  My kids all look good and are more or less in good spirits.
So I make them all pose and smile for the camera. You can tell Ian isn't really thrilled about having his picture taken.

 Molly of course couldn't contain herself for long and had to start hamming for the camera.
 Her hair looks good!
 Two handsome boys!
 And my girls are looking lovely. Molly wears this outfit almost every week. She loves the brown skirt and the pink sweater. There won't be too many more wearings of the pink sweater. It is a 3T and she is squeezing into it.  Oh and don't forget the necklace. This one is her favorite because the clasp is a magnent. This keeps her entertained during church while she puts it on and off each of us and finds other things she can find that are magnetic.
 Sophie is becoming very picky about her clothes. I guess all those years of me nitpicking her about her coices is coming back to haunt me. She usually goes through several shirt and skirt combos each Sunday before settling on one that works. She put this outfit together rather quickly. I think she tried 3 different skirts with the black shirt before settling for the black.  Black goes with black quite nicely.
 Yes my kids love to have pictures taken of themselves.
 Look at those chapped lips on Henry.  It is a bit drier in our new area and Henry needs to stop licking his lips!

So in the two minutes it took for my husband to grab his jacket, ipad and keys my kids proved how handsome, beautful, silly and stylish they are.

Personal Progress - Getting Started - Choice and Accountability #2

Sophie turned twelve a few months ago and since about that time we have had the craziness of moving and settling into our new home. We recently attended the Young Woman in Excellence meeting in our new ward and it was so lovely to hear about the projects each girl has done. Sophie on the other hand didn't present because being so new to Young Woman and the Personal Progress program she hasn't worked on anything yet.

When I was 12-18 I worked on projects and even received my beehive medalian

and then my Miamaid medallian 

but never recieved my Laurel or Young Woman's medallian.

This is what it looked like in my day. 
I really like the new medallian

The temple, the beehive, the laurel leaves and the ruby (because a virtuous woman's price is above rubies.) all have such symbolic meaning and focus for a Young Woman. 
Since I never earned my medallian when young I figured I would start going through the program with Sophie and work on value projects and experiences as well.  Then I too can have the medalian for the program I failed to finish when I was younger.

It may seem like a strange place to start but Sophie and I are starting with the value Choice and Accountability. 

Faith may be listed first but we jumped into reading For the Strength of Youth and that is listed as one of the value experiences for Choice and Accountability so I figured we would work on that value first. I say we because that is what I decided to do and since I am the one prodding Sophie along I get to make that choice until she decides to tell me otherwise.

Not only are we supposed to read the pamphlet but we are to choose three of the principles to work on for three weeks and then discuss what we have learned with a parent or leader and write about it in our journals. Writing our thoughts in our journal figures into most of the experiences listed. I figured since my Mom reads my blog and this acts as my journal in many ways I would just write my thoughts here and report on my progress as I work through this program. 

So for Choice and Accountability experience #2, we have now read the pamphlet, I now need to pick three principles to work on for three weeks. I discussed this with my kids during our morning devotional time. We read through the pamphlet together so I figured we could come up with some ideas together and work on them as a family

Language - We do a lot of bickering and shout angry words at one another. When I get frustrated or overwhelmed I too loose my head and yell. We are going to try to be more calm and not let things get us so riled up that we have to use harsh words with one another.
Service - Simple everyday acts of kindness for other members of our family will do wonders for the atmosphere in our home. 
Work - I haven't yet established a new chore system since moving to our new house. I have just been giving the kids jobs as they come up or I end up doing whatever is needed. I should put together a new rotation and add in all the new chores that having a house has added to the load. 

So those are my three goals. The kids have agreed to do them as well. Hopefully we will see some improvement after our three week focus.