Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam

This is our (almost) third year teaching the sunbeams at church up here in Spokane, and I will be the first to admit that I haven't been the best teacher up until this past Summer. Over the Summer, something in me just clicked, and I realized I needed to be putting much more effort into my calling if I was ever going to (1) make a difference in the building of these kid's testimonies, and (2) actually enjoy being in primary with these kids each week. 

We have some wild hairs in our class, cute and well-meaning, but wild nonetheless. Consequently, I have to be pretty creative and on top of things if I'm going to get and keep their attention on the correct subject matter. Since I've begun planning more in advance and spending more time on each week's lesson, I've noticed a definite change. Yes, they are still rambunctious, but they participate more in sharing and singing time. One girl sang for the first time, at least that I've seen, last week. She sang! It was a BIG deal. In addition, I can tell they like us more. Who doesn't like to be liked? 

I wanted to share some of the successes we've had in class over the past few weeks. I'm pretty proud of the work I've put into it so far and that they are responding so well. :)

In order to talk about the different homes Lehi's family lived in, I brought a sheet. When Lehi's family left Jerusalem to live in a tent, I covered the table with the blanket so we could all go inside the "tent" and talk about it more inside. Then when Nephi built the boat we flipped the table over, climbed in, and used the sheet as a sail. They loved it.

Last Sunday, the lesson was on love. I thought we would take them to heart attack the primary presidency and bishop, but Joe thought it would be good for us to first heart attack each child, so they would know how it felt. A capital idea (insert British accent here). We wrote short personal notes to each sunbeam on the hearts and left them at their homes. It was a hit, and they really enjoyed sneakily placing hearts on the doors at church.

This coming Sunday is about animals. We are going to hide a bunch of stuffed animals outside the church building, so we can go on an animal hunt and talk about each animal as we find them. Then we will bring the animals inside, so we can revive our "boat" and put all the animals in the ark as we talk about Noah. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Love of Learning

This week I had the opportunity to read David McCullough's The Love of Learning, a speech he gave to the graduating students at Boston College. I loved it. If anyone wants to listen to it, you can do so here. Many of you have probably already heard or read this speech, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces from it.

"If information were learning, you could memorize the World Almanac and call yourself educated. If you memorized the World Almanac, you wouldn’t be educated. You’d be weird!"

“'I cannot live without books,' Thomas Jefferson wrote to Adams late in life, knowing Adams would understand perfectly. Adams read everything—Shakespeare and the Bible over and over, and the Psalms especially. He read poetry, fiction, history. Always carry a book with you on your travels he advised his son, John Quincy. 'You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.'”

"And please, please, do what you can to cure the verbal virus that seems increasingly rampant among your generation. I’m talking about the relentless, wearisome use of the words, 'like,' and 'you know,' and 'awesome,' and 'actually.' Listen to yourselves as you speak. Just imagine if in his inaugural address John F. Kennedy had said, 'Ask not what your country can, you know, do for you, but what you can, like, do for your country actually.'” 
(Guilty as charged... I'm working on it.)

"We’re all what we read to a very considerable degree."

He also stated this statistic: "In a single year, according to the U. S. Department of Education, among all Americans with a college education, fully a third read not one novel or short story or poem."

Yikes. Not even one? I can't even imagine going a full year without reading anything, but I guess not everyone enjoys reading... weird-o's. (just kidding!)

So, I want to know: What are you reading lately? Or what is something you've read recently that you would recommend? I want to read good books, so I can be filled with good things!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ezra's Songs

Ezra's birthday is hurtling towards us, so I've been feeling really sentimental lately. He is growing up so fast, and I continue to be amazed as to how I got the most handsome, wonderful, perfect baby ever! I suppose all mothers feel that way, but regardless, I have been reflecting on the past year and listening to a lot of the same music I did during my pregnancy and Ezra's newborn days. Here are a few of my favorites. I will always associate these songs with this sweet little boy.

I credit this song with a lot. I first heard it after I found out we were having a boy and suddenly everything felt more real. I often grew nervous about the prospect of raising a boy, but whenever I felt this way all I had to do was turn on Paul Simon's Negotiations and Love Songs and everything felt better. This song, especially, made me feel close to the little baby inside me.

And of course no list would be complete without a video of Ezra dancing to one of his favorite songs.  Whenever this song, or Bonanza, comes on he gets so excited my heart wants to burst.

I love this boy!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Because I Don't Want to Forget This...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lovely Manito Park

One of our favorite things about living in Spokane is Manito Park. They have many flower gardens in this park alone, but we always come back to the rose garden. Unfortunately many of the roses were already starting to wither, but the dahlia section (my personal favorite) was in full bloom. The people here really know how to make and maintain great parks. I am going to miss it come winter and then graduation. Spokane has won my heart; it is truly enchanting.

 Can you spot Ezra in one of the three pictures above?

Saturday, September 13, 2014


7 Months: 18.4 lb. - likes to scream -  says "blah, blah, blah" and "Dada" - can't get enough of my glasses

8 Months: 19.4 lb. - says "Mama" - does not like meat - is an excellent little traveler

9 Months: 21.4 lb. - got his first tooth - learned to clap

10 Months: 20.5 lb. - super smiley and playful - called "Sweet Pea" and "Honey Bee"

11 Months: 20.8 lb. - officially crawling - can stand up holding onto things - baby talks all day long

Friday, September 12, 2014

Our Summer (Part 2)

After a wonderful Fourth of July, Ezra and I were off to visit family in Houston. Here Ezra got to reconnect with his cousin Lincoln and meet his newest cousin, Phoenix! It was a blast watching Ezra interact with everyone.

Bath time is always a favorite at our house, but it is waaaay better with Lincoln around. Throw in some organic bell peppers from Grandma Sears' garden and a toy or two from the early 90's and you've got yourself a perfect memory. 

Can you sense his excitement? Ezra loves Phoenix!

 We got to go to Kemah for food, fireworks, and live entertainment. We also hit up the busy Houston Zoo, where the weather could not have hotter or muggier. Regardless, it was a perfect day and a perfect vacation. It was over far too soon.

Just days after returning to Vegas, we were off again to the magnificent Grand Canyon. I have always wanted to see this world wonder, but no picture could have ever prepared me for its vast grandeur. We walked along the southern rim, viewing the simply gorgeous landscape. I couldn't help but try to spot all the signs of mass wasting since my natural disasters class was just completed. I am so glad I decided to take that class because it added a whole new element to the experience.


Our final days in Vegas were spent enjoying the sunshine. We went on a lot of walks this summer. Below is a picture of Joe and Ezra "chicken bowling." Don't worry... no chickens were harmed. We also got to (finally) go see Veronic. We were supposed to see Celine Dion for our anniversary, but after two cancelled shows we exchanged our tickets for Veronic just before we were scheduled to leave Vegas. It was a fun night. Veronic is extremely talented and our seats were less than a foot from the stage! Since it was our last night with free babysitting and no school, we made a night of it, stopping at M&M World, Hershey World, the Bellagio, and to munch on crepes, and frozen hot chocolate. The night was splendid, with exception to me stepping on some broken glass on the dirty strip. Thank goodness my shoes were just thick enough that I didn't get stuck too badly and that a kind passerby came to my rescue.

Now Summer is over and we have made the long trek back to Spokane. It is chilly up here where the air is clean and clear and crisp. Autumn in Spokane is beautiful to behold; I anxiously await the changing of the leaves. It was a beautifully hot Summer, but now it is time to change gears. School has just begun and everything feels new. I hope this picture of Ezra wrangling a moose will help you get into the Fall spirit!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Summer (Part 1)

There never seemed to be enough time to post to the blog this Summer, let alone sort through all the billions of pictures I take of Ezra every day. Well, I finally got all those pictures under control! Ready for baby overload? Here is part one of our Summer (mostly) in pictures.

We drove all the way down from Spokane to Vegas, allowing this little boy to meet his great-grandmothers:
Great-Grandma Sears introduced him to ice cream.

Great-Grandma Behra

Great-Grandma Meservy

Once we arrived in Vegas, the fun began:
 Ezra wasn't so sure about Cleo at first, but soon he loved her so much that he would scream and demand I take him over to her every time she came near.

Mandalay Bay Aquarium

 Before long we were off to Anaheim for Ezra's first trip to Disneyland!

 Ezra's first ride was Dumbo the Flying Elephant. He loved it, but meeting the characters was his absolute favorite. He even got to ride some rides with Grandma and Grandpa. 

It was an excellent weekend of firsts: Disneyland, the beach, and the pool.

Once we got back to Vegas, Ezra's favorite activities always involved getting into shenanigans with Evie or riding the sweet red rocking horse to the tune of the William Tell Overture or Bonanza.

He also got to attend his first parade (unless you count us walking in last years parade when I was pregnant with him) for his first Fourth of July. The Summerlin Parade was incredibly well done and worth the heat.