25 January 2015


Mack just won at a family card game and there was some discussion of the rules...

Hubba:  Oh, I didn't know that.  I think I misled Mack before and he probably would have won earlier.  Mack, stop being so cocky.
Kelvinator:  Wouldn't it stink if everybody stopped being sarcastic?  That would be so stupid.

Baboo came home from a Sunday night open house with an entire box of leftover donuts...

Baboo:  Who's the best sister in the United States?
Someone:  Where'd you get those?
Baboo:  I just stopped at the store on my way home.
JJ:  Like you have money.
Hubba:  Like you'd go shopping on a Sunday.
Kelvinator:  Like you'd give them to us anyway.


At the dinner table, I started paying attention to a conversation at the other end of the table about halfway through...

JJ:  It was funny the first time you said it.  But you've said it like 700 times now.
X:  I know.  It's like a reflex.
Me: (singing the Duran Duran song)  The reflex is an only child...
Mack:  Reflex Math (a computer program they use for math at school)
X:  Reflexive verbs.
After dinner, discussing whether or not pregnant women are fat...

Mack:  When my wife is pregnant, I'm going to make her a big hamburger and a little tiny hamburger so she can eat for two.

Has the day of miracles ceased?

 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

So, every Sunday I basically want to come home from church and tell all about my Primary class.  It's like the endorphin rush I have after a good workout.  I am just loving my primary class.

Did you hear that?

In fact, I have a teacher who I am team teaching with except that she recently had surgery and is unable to come to church.  So I have been doing it all by myself.  And when I realize that I will eventually have to share my class and even have the opportunity to go to Relief Society, well, let's just say that's not a happy feeling.  I want to teach this primary class every week.

It's crazy.  I am enjoying this class so much.  It reminds me of the feeling I have when I'm teaching a great childbirth class.  I love making the connections between teacher/student and opening eyes and when people have that Aha moment and finally understand something.  But this is the first time in my life I have ever felt those feelings teaching children.

I just love it!

And to be clear, I don't think that there's anything special about this particular primary class.  I think they are just your regular kids.  I'm pretty sure the change has happened in me.

Anyway, when we first get to class I sit down with the kids (and now they pull their chairs right up close so they are practically touching my knees) and I ask them questions about their week.  So last week it was "What was the most exciting thing that happened to you this week?"  And then one by one, the kids get to tell about their week as I listen raptly.  They love it and are always eager for their turn to share.  This week I asked about the scariest things that had happened and got a story from one boy that was hilarious.  A couple of the kids didn't have scary stories so randomly during the rest of the class I tried to scare them so they'd have a story to tell.  It was so funny catching them off guard in the middle of my lesson with "Boo" and jumping towards them.

Then after that, it's time for our opening prayer.  And each week I ask them WHY we have an opening prayer?  I remind them that I don't know everything and they don't know everything but Heavenly Father does.  And I've prepared this lesson, but if they listen with their minds and hearts for thoughts and feelings, Heavenly Father will reveal a special message just for them and that's what revelation is and we need the blessing of the Holy Ghost here in order to hear the message.  I emphasize that I don't know what the message is and so they will have to listen closely for it.  Then we say the opening prayer.  And I love hearing how they ask to learn and get their special message and for the Holy Ghost to be there.  Sometimes if we have time at the end of class, I will ask if they got a special message and sometimes they will share something and sometimes not.  I emphasize that it's all ok but they should always be listening for that revelation.

Then I give my lesson and I have whittled it WAY down.  In the manual there are stories and games and wordstrips and so many things.  It just frustrates me if I try to accomplish all of those things and then I'm just constantly shushing children and trying to get them move on because I have limited time and I have to finish all these things.  But if I pick ONE thing to teach--just one thing--then I feel really good about being able to take time to discuss or answer questions or tie in their silly stories to the purpose of the lesson.  I can take time to quietly sit and wait for them to settle down instead of telling them what to do.  It's just so much more peaceful.  And so we DO a lot of talking and sharing experiences and relating things to the lesson.

Today our lesson was on the childhood of Joseph Smith.  Basically, all I did was read the three little stories (a few paragraphs) about his life.  The kids had paper and crayons and I just told them to draw whatever they pictured while I was reading.  We discussed things they didn't understand and talked about how different and similar their life was compared to him.  At the end of each little story, each child got to stand up and show their picture and why they drew things.  One girl drew a picture of what looked like Joseph Smith playing volleyball.

I had to ask.  She confirmed, yes indeed that WAS Joseph Smith playing volleyball because I had read that Joseph Smith liked to "play ball."  I had read this story twice in preparation and a third time just a few moments before.  I didn't remember where it said that he liked to play ball.  So I went back and re-read.  Sure enough, there it was in black and white.  I told her that I had read this three times and completely missed the fact that Joseph Smith liked to play ball.  I pointed out that that was one of the special messages from Heavenly Father to her, that it had stood out to her whereas I had missed it.  She was GLOWING.  And then we had a short conversation about how much we both loved volleyball!

Almost all the kids in my class wear watches because our room doesn't have a clock and I never ever remember to bring anything to tell time.  So they are all super responsible and point out to me when they walk into class that they brought their watches.  And so I ask different people multiple times a class what time it is.  And they are all eager for 11:50 to roll around because they know at 11:50 we end the lesson and work on memorizing the articles of faith.  We are working on 1 and 13 this month.  13 is killer huge for little 7 year olds.  But they have the first part down fine.  This week I added the part about the admonition of Paul and we all marched around the room repeating it over and over again.  Then we sat down and each kid tried reciting it.

Then it's time for closing prayer.  On my first two Sundays with the class, praying was kind of chaotic.  Apparently their last teacher had some sort of chart to decide who was saying prayers.  I kept sayin gI would try to think of something, but never actually did it and so choosing someone to pray was still difficult.  Finally, the class decided that we would just go in alphabetical order by first name.  They were so pleased that I let them decide how everyone would get a turn to pray.

This isn't like a totally quiet class, though.  Don't get that idea at all.  It's really loud and sometimes can feel a little out of control.  In our classroom there is a closet that has some other ward's supplies--primary or nursery or something--and it's not locked.  So every time we go to class, the kids all run and open that closet door and hide inside and explore everything that's there.  Sometimes it's hard to get them to come sit down so we can start class.  So today, when I finally had their attention, I said, "I wonder why every week you go play in that closet even though you know you shouldn't."  And it was hilarious as they actually sat their and pondered it.  Like, "Why DO we keep doing that?"  And after a moment I suggested that maybe next week they could just come in and sit down WITHOUT opening that closet.  They all eagerly agreed.  It'll be fun to see what happens next week!

When they are getting really loud and rowdy (which is pretty bad because like I said, our normal class is pretty loud and rowdy enough anyway so if I'm settling them down, you can bet it's super crazy) I usually just say something like "I think it's going to be very hard for you to hear Heavenly Father's special message for you right now."  And they settle down pretty quickly.  In fact, today I demonstrated and told one boy to just talk as fast as he could and as loudly as he could for a minute.  And then I tried telling him something.  Then I quieted him down and said "What did I say?"  He couldn't tell me.  He had no idea what I had been saying.  And so I taught the class that when we are talking it's really difficult to listen to what Heavenly Father wants us to know.  Especially because the Holy Ghost is a still, small voice.  Then we practiced listening with our minds and hearts and I began again.

I love how one boy always insists that I sit by him during sharing time.  He saves me a seat beside him every week.  Today he was busy doing something else when I walked in and he turned and said "Oh!  You're here!"  And then after class, even though I had just seen him 75 seconds before, he was near me in the hallway and gave me this huge like he hadn't seen me in years.  I love seeing the shier kids coming out of their shells and participating.  I love seeing the kids I thought would be behavior problems NOT being any problem at all.

It's just so satisfying.  So deeply satisfying and fun.  I hope I'm not released any time soon.

It's still shocking to me to be writing this.

24 January 2015

Two things that really did happen within 48 hours

1.  In October, Pinkleberry got her "mouth jewelry" off and got a brand spanking new retainer. It was very expensive.  She was not supposed to lose it.  But somewhere between the hustle and bustle of Baboo coming home and Thanksgiving, that's exactly what happened.  It was going to cost hundreds of dollars to replace.  I knew it was somewhere in our house (she had set it down on the table-ew!-the last I saw and we wondered if maybe it got thrown away when the table was cleared.  We dug through SO MANY trash bags!) so I didn't want to buy a new one.  The orthodontist said we could just use the temporary one they had given us before the permanent one arrived in the meantime.  Perfect.

So she wore that retainer for a week or two.  But somewhere in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, she lost that one.  In the house someplace.  Again.  I did not want to purchase a replacement since we should have both of them somewhere!  So I waited and waited and cleaned and cleaned.  Finally after a month, I gave up and decided she needed a retainer.  I still didn't want to purchase the expensive permanent one, but I took her in to get a mold done for another temporary one.

She had to try to take the mold 3 times and each time she was gagging and drooling and just having a hard time.  But finally they had a mold they could use.  A week later we came back to pick it up.  They made some last adjustments and gave her the whole spiel about wearing it every night and not losing it, not leaving it in a hot car, brushing it every morning and night, yadda yadda yadda.  We knew the drill.

So that night at bedtime, I reminded her to go put it on.  She kept it in her mouth during scriptures and prayer and it was really annoying because it made her slur her words.  Then we sent her up to bed.  A few minutes later, though, she was back out of bed.  She asked me if she could have a hug.  I said of course.  She admitted she was still hungry.  I told her to go quickly and get a banana.  She at the banana and looked around and said, "Where's my retainer?"

Sigh.  Really?

We looked all over it.  She couldn't remember where she took it out.  I tried to remember whether she had it in when she asked me if I would give her a hug and told me she was hungry.  We looked everywhere she had been--bed, kitchen, hallway...  We wondered if maybe she accidentally threw it away when she threw away her banana peel and started digging through the trash again.



I just purchased that retainer and she didn't even get the benefit of it for one night!  And now somewhere in my house are THREE retainers.

2.  We have three vehicles.  Baboo cannot drive our Honda because it's a stick shift.  So she can either drive our Toyota or our megavan.  She had errands to run today.  So she hopped into the Prius and started backing out of the driveway, only to hit the Honda that was parked right behind her.

23 January 2015


In the van on the way home from school...

Mack:  If someone was holding 2.5 tons in each hand, how much weight would they be holding? (the little girls ignored him) Guys!  If someone was holding 2.5 tons in each hand, how much weight would they be holding?
Pink:  What do you want from us--a first grader and a third grader?!?!
Mack:  Guesses, Pinkleberry.  I want guesses.  Good ones!
While eating a "Resse's" sandwich (peanut butter and chocolate chips)...
Mack:  If somebody was electric and you could put your hand through then, do you think it would be considered impolite to just keep waving your hand back and forth?


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