Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Three Little Pigs and Helaman

Once a month we do FHE with my husband's family. I love having this experience with extended family and wish that I got to do it with my family once a month too! I'd be up for traveling to AZ every month! Yesterday I had the kids tell the story of The Three Little Pigs while each father built a house out of either straw, sticks, or "bricks." Now these men are secret engineers so I believe that they probably built far superior houses than the Three Little Pigs. The kids then had fun huffing, and puffing, (and maybe a little flicking) to blow the houses down. 
The men building their houses
 Heleman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." 

A blurry little picture of our "brick" house. 
 We read this scripture in Helaman and discussed how the "Big-Bad Wolf" was like the devil. We talked about how living in today's day and age, we have these mighty whirlwinds, and tempests. We talked about how the only house that had a foundation, was the one that withstood these mighty whirl winds. We then sang the wise man and the foolish man from the Children's song book.
Our stick house
 "Anchor your life in Jesus Christ, your Redeemer. Make your Eternal Father and his Beloved Son the most important priority in your life--more important than life itself, more important than a beloved companion or children or anyone on earth. Make their will your central desire. Then all that you need for happiness will come to you." --Richard G. Scott (Ensign, May 1993, pp. 32-34)
Our "straw" house
"The place to cure most of the ills of society is in the homes of the people. Building our homes as a fortresses of righteousness for protection from the world takes constant labor and diligence. Membership in the Church is no guarantee of a strong, happy family. Often parents feel overwhelmed... The righteous molding of an immortal soul is the highest work we can do, and the home is the place to do it. To accomplish this eternal work, we should make our homes gospel centered. When peace and harmony abound, the Holy Spirit will ever be present. The storms of the evil one can be stopped at the very entrance of our homes. Let us be sure the spiritual foundation of each home is the rock of our Redeemer, as Helaman taught his sons:[Hel. 5:12]. The Lord's standards for building a temple apply also to building spiritual strength in our homes; 'Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God' (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119) Do we heed this counsel from the Lord? Do we do what He asks? We would do well to build our homes according to this plan or they are destined to fail." --Joseph B. Wirthlin (Ensign, May 1993. p. 69)

I am watching the tempests of the adversary raging. I am wondering what we can do to build these lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the direction and guidance of the Lord. "Building our homes as a fortresses of righteousness for protection from the world takes constant labor and diligence." 

This is exhausting work, but one that I am happy to be engaged in. The exhausted parent in me, salutes the exhausted parent in you. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Me and my dad circa 1978
I am a primary chorister for my ward. It is the GREATEST calling in all the world! I love it. I really love it this time around due to the technology benefits of FB groups. In this FB group we can share ideas, ask questions, and glean inspiration from other choristers from around the world. I was surprised when it came time to start preparing for Father's Day, how many choristers wanted a Father's Day song that didn't have anything to do with Father's. 
Families are forever

Now I totally appreciate these tender hearted women didn't want to offend anyone or make anyone feel bad. These women come from all over the world, and many from areas where and in-home father isn't the norm. I get that they didn't want the children to be sad, yet are we doing them a disservice by making believe that it doesn't matter? If you grew up without a father, I am sorry. I am sorry that Father's day may be hard for you, but Fathers DO MATTER! Can you still grow up to be an amazing person without a father? Of course you can! If your father is home yet isn't the greatest example of what a father can be, are we doing a service by ignoring what a father should be? I don't believe we are. 
All because two people fell in love! Crazy Mangum crew!

I feel like we are perpetuating the cycle of absent fathers by minimizing their importance. This super woman mentality is making it so that men feel like they won't be missed, aren't needed in the family, and that everyone will be fine without them. Who wants to stick around a family that doesn't need them? The cold hard fact is that children do better with a father in the home. Fathers are pretty amazing and I am really lucky to have the best dad on the planet. 
My awesome parents with their awesome kids!

When I was 14-years-old a young women's leader had allowed some of us to drive her car for about 10 feet in a straight line in a dirt area of a mobile home park. I thought it was pretty cool. I then asked my older brother if I could drive. He asked me if I had ever driven before. I wasn't really lying when I said yes, but he didn't ask about steering! My brother pulled over on the side of a dirt road, right before the road went into a wash. Folks, I had no natural knack for driving. I tried to pull back into the road and turned WAY too far, so I steered back WAY too far and drove up over the mountian of rocks to my right and up over the street sign that said, do no cross when flooded. I then of course over corrected back into the wash. In all about 50 feet, my brother finally managed to get his foot over to the brake pedal and stop the car. I had successfully ripped the gas tank. He left me with the car while he walked home to get my parents. My dad drove me home while my brother drove the car to the mechanic before all of the gas dripped out. 

I remember sitting there next to my dad. He didn't really say much. He did say, in the calmest voice, "I am really glad that no one was hurt. Well I guess you and Rick will have to split the deductible. It will be $250 for each of you. And you will have to wait a little bit longer to get your drivers licence." I thought that was generous. That wasn't the last time I had to pay a deductible for one of his cars. It wasn't the first time he started out by saying "I'm glad no one was hurt." I NEVER would have learned how to drive if it hadn't have been for the patience of Job that my father possessed. I never would have learned how to do a lot of things if it wasn't for the patient unconditional love that my father possessed for me. My father typifies my Eternal Father. 

Because my father was present, encouraging, wise, patient, fun loving, serving, and spiritual I have no problem seeing my Father in Heaven the same way. Thank you Dad! I love you!
Dad of the year! Love his man and his adorable crew!

My husband is also such an example of love. He had no idea what he was getting into when he married me. We agreed when we were getting serious that would would only want two to three kids. This patient man has welcomed each child into our family with a heart full of love. Josh is very involved in our children's lives. He never backs down from a parenting moment. This man has caught vomit in his hands, has rubbed leg aches, medicated fevers, done more laundry than he can even keep track of. He cooks meals, provides for the family, serves others, and loves us with his whole soul. I am so glad that my children get to have him for a father. You amaze me everyday Josh Thomson. Thank you!
Josh hates camping, yet went on the fathers and sons because he loves his sons.

There have been many great men in my life that have been a father of sorts to me. My Father-in-law is a great man and truly an example of love and tenderness. My grandfathers were amazing men and I miss them so much. I have been blessed by bishops, stake presidents, teachers, and neighbors. It is a never ending duty to be a dad. You are doing great!Father's, if we don't say it enough THANK YOU!  You are vital to the survival of the family. 
Turner drew this picture of his dad in primary today.

Notice that my mind never once when to someone who is famous, a national leader, or great in the sight of the world. It is the work we do person to person that matters. Fathers you matter! Thank you!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Thank you un-named hero

All smiles after she dumps the root beer all over herself
Friday I had one of the worst ideas I had EVER had! I needed to go to Costco on the way to pick-up Josh from work, on our way to a double date in Salt Lake. I was dropping my kids off in Salt Lake so my cousin could watch the kids while we went on this double date. So I packed up all five of my kids to venture to Costco BY MYSELF! I hate shopping with all five of my kids by myself. I would much prefer either Josh come with so one can shop, and the other be on crowd control, or I would just rather do it by myself, or preferably the grocery fairy would just come and keep the fridge and pantry full!
I really didn’t think we were going to have to be in Costco all that long—I just needed a few cleaning supplies, and a handful of shelf-stable goods. We decided to eat first. As soon as we get our food, someone needs to go to the bathroom. I plead for them to hold it until after we eat. Luckily this time, they could. After our elegant cuisine, we head off to the bathroom, me begging each one of them to try since we were already there. After that was taken care of, we head down the aisles.

Did you know that Friday afternoon at Costco is almost as crazy as Saturday afternoon? It was packed, and the samples were out in full force. I know most people LOVE the samples, but with eight little hands that want to TRY the coconut water and the artichoke hearts, it is a living nightmare for me. Gagging on samples I told them they wouldn’t like isn’t fun! Besides then having to find a trash instantly, spills, whining that something is too spicy etc. is not my idea of an easy shopping trip. Not to mention the fact that if we do stop at a sample stand (there wasn’t going to be any complaints about the Oreo cookies or raspberry filled doughnuts they were sampling on Friday) me, my cart, and my entourage, block the whole flow of traffic.
Amelia saw the stand of pretty dresses and decided that she would rather hang out in the middle of the clothes rack than follow me around the store. I noticed she was gone after we had gone down an aisle, so I snuck over there—giving the boys strict instructions to stay with the cart and watch the baby. I get close and I hear her singing to the dresses, as she pets each and every one from the inside of the rack. I part the clothes and yell boo—which was my biggest mistake, now she thought it was funny. I was trying to scare her! Backfire! Well, the boys thought it was funny that I was sneaking over there so they followed me, leaving my baby across the store unattended. I barked orders at the boys to go back to the cart, and grabbed Amelia’s hand firmly to march her over there as well. She was having none of it and went as limp as a rag doll. I obviously had to back to the cart to make sure I still had a baby, and didn’t have time to care what a soul thought of me. So I drug her limp body across the dirty floor. I get back to find the boys climbing on the sacks of sugar, and finding little “chairs” in and among the merchandise. The baby was still there, thank goodness!

The rest of the trip followed course. Quite a bit of running, climbing, punching, etc. every time I stopped to read a label. We still had our soda cup from our lunch and they kept fighting over who was going to hold it. At one point someone set it in the cart right next to the baby. That girl has quick hands and grabbed it, luckily I have almost as quick hands and grabbed it from her before we had a tragedy. I asked Turner to find a trash and throw it away, he begged to be able to finish it and I said, “On one condition that you don’t set it down next to B.” We were getting close to done when Cooper tells me that he needs to go to the bathroom—he had just gone at the beginning of the trip. I begged him to wait and luckily he thought he could hold it while we waited in the ginormous line.

After check-out I decided to join Cooper and told Turner, Max and Amelia to keep their hands on the cart at all times. As soon as I sat down in the stall I hear Turner come in freaking out because someone had set the soda down next to B and she had spilled it all over herself and the cart. I instructed him to grab some paper towels and I would be out in a minute to help. I walk out there and he had emptied the paper towel dispenser all over the floor. We cleaned up the mess and then I had that only-at-Costco-feeling—WHERE DID I PUT MY RECIPT?!?! I found it and instantly the kids started bickering about who was going to hand it to the check-out person. I decided it was my turn.

We head out to the van, I am so relieved that it is over. We are parked at the front of the store, and a couple parking spaces down is the handicap ramp so I ask my kids to get into the van while I go down the ramp. Well, I had purchased a huge 10-gallon bucket of rolled oats, and they had set the box of all my small goods on top of the oats. As I head down the ramp the box starts to teeter, I go to grab it a fraction of a second too late and the box tumbles off and spills all over the parking lot.

I was about to cry. A fancy BMW pulls up and a very well dressed man jumps out and helps me pick-up my items. I tell him it isn’t necessary, but he assures me it is okay. Then he offers to carry the box over to my car. “You’ve got your hands full with a baby.” He hadn’t yet seen my other four hoodlums climbing all over the van a couple cars down. I look over at his car and there is a woman in the passenger seat with her arms folded and a scowl on her face—noticeably annoyed. I thank him profusely as he sets the box down on top of crumbs and dirt in the back of my van (why did I forget to vacuum out the trunk last time I cleaned my car!) He said you’re welcome, and my superhero was gone.

The nameless man was a hero to me that day. It took him only a few minutes, but I am still smiling at the thought. Could I have picked up the box myself? Of course I could. It was that in a very frustrated moment for me, someone that didn’t even know me, cared enough to help me out. I think it is what Christ would do. Of course He knows all of us—none of us are an un-named to Him. This man was His hands at that moment. He helped me, in that moment, to not feel so alone and to offer a hand of kindness. I will never forget him, and what may have seemed as a small act of kindness to him. It was a big deal to me.

I want to look for ways to be an everyday hero to someone else. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

White noise

I KNEW that baby number five was going to be so easy! I had had twins my last go-round, my other kids were MUCH older, and I was a seasoned pro--I had seen it all. Of course our life was much different this time around too. I was now homeschooling so this baby was just going to have to go along for the ride, and be an expert car seat sleeper. We were just going to nurse on the go, and I would exclusively breastfeed the whole first year so that I would always have the best food available wherever I went!

Well, our sweet precious Abigail came and joined our family. She was everything I had anticipated in another baby—except easy. My experience in babies still hadn’t prepared me for THIS baby; once again testifying that no one can really be an all-inclusive baby expert.

B is the WORST sleeper! Sleeping was never her strength. She was constantly taking cat naps so she was constantly tired. I would put her down for naps a half-a-dozen times a day. She didn't fall asleep easy so I was spending so much time rocking her and putting her down. The whole first six months of her life was spent this way. I was exhausted and tired. After she fell asleep, any noise would wake her up. Well a home with four other homeschooling kids means that there is always noise. I noticed once that during Max's birthday party she slept like an angel! There was so much noise right outside her window. That is when I realized that constant noise may be better than an absence of noise for her. 

I turned to my FB friends and was recommended a cheap white noise machine. The day it came in the mail was the day my life changed. I plugged in that little machine and it played 10 different noises--the one B liked the best was the plain and simple white noise. It is just a static sound to block out all other sound. I never wanted to "get a child dependent on those things," but I just needed the baby to SLEEP!

I was thinking of that sound today. I was thinking of the white noise in my life. Not physically noise, but the sounds that drown out everything else. What do I have in my life that blocks out noise. Specifically the noise of The Spirit. What am I not hearing because I have my phone in my face or the TV on? What am I not hearing when I have the radio blasting? I don't think these things are bad, I just think I use them too much, and they play interference with the Lord. 

Often times B still wakes up at 5 am for a feeding . She will then go back to sleep and I will sit in the stillness of my house. This is when I read my scriptures and listen. This is when the Lord can actually get through to my spirit. This is when my white noise of the world is off. I am trying so hard to listen.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nephi and life missions

Oh how I love fist Nephi! I love to pour over the pages—or maybe I’m just a slow reader and tend to start the Book of Mormon more often than I finish it. I think the pages of First Nephi are so full of very basic truths for that very reason. Mostly what I take away from that book is the power each of us have through our Father in Heaven, and that we each have PERSONAL COMMANDMENTS. Think about it, we aren’t all commanded to go and build a ship, yet Nephi was. We aren’t all commanded to go into the wilderness, but Lehi was. We are all asked to do thing in life that everyone else isn’t. We all have a mission.

What is your mission? Do you know it? Among my homeschooling community, we talk about life missions a lot. Our life mission and our children’s life missions. How do we prepare our children for their life mission? One of the best ways is to discover our own, as mothers, and follow it. I have to admit that was a new concept for me. I honestly had a mind frame of career and motherhood. I knew I needed an education in case I needed to someday provide for a family, but I never once thought about what my life mission would be. What was I put on this earth for? Was it only to raise my five children?

I don’t know how many people really do know what they were put on this earth for, or maybe it is just me. I always wanted one of those no doubt talents—you know the ones where there is no question. You open your mouth and the sound of angels come out—bam! You were put on this earth to sing. You touch your fingers to the piano—bam! You were put here to play. You have the heart of Mother Teresa—bam! You are meant to live your life among the poor and fatherless.

Maybe the subject of talents is for another day, but there are things each of us is commanded to do, and I LOVE First Nephi for that reason. I was reading in chapter 16 the other day, and it was talking about the Liahona and was specifically saying, “The pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.” That kinda hit me like a rock. Faith. Diligence. Heed.

I have wanted a Liahona for as long as I can remember. I would love clear cut direction straight from the Lord. Yet it only worked by faith, diligence, and heed. Faith is tough, but one thing I do know about faith is that it is taking one step in the darkness. So if God has given me direction for my life, I’ve got to take that step before I understand HOW He is going to accomplish things in my life. I’ve got to take that step towards the direction I feel prompted to go. In chapter 17:3 it reads, “And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.” Nephi was talking about a personal commandment here—the commandment for them to sojourn in the wilderness. I have to take that step in the darkness. I have to try.

Diligence is defined as, “careful and persistent work or effort.” If we persist—even if we haven’t seen HOW God will provide a means for us, we will receive more direction from the Lord. When I read this, I realized that my efforts to follow through with what the Lord had commanded me were nowhere near careful and persistent. There was not a lot of work or effort being put into my personal commandments. Sometimes on my part, a lack of faith leads to a lack of diligence. I don’t know how God will help me accomplish everything I need to do, so I don’t try. He isn’t asking for perfection—just persistent effort.

Heed was the world that I really noticed this time reading. I had obviously noticed it before as it was circled in a couple of different colors, but I REALLY noticed it this time. The online dictionary that I used to try to understand this better, says that heed is a verb. A VERB! That mean that I actually HAVE TO DO SOMETHING! Again, for me, a lack of faith leads to a lack of heed. Yet a lack of heed leads to a lack of faith. God can’t do anything in my life if I don’t do anything!

Nephi was commanded to build a ship. A ship, mind you, that he had NO IDEA how to build. The difference between a good ship and a poor ship is the difference between life and death. There weren’t ship building schools in the wilderness. No books on ship construction, and he didn’t even have the internet to be able to YouTube it! Yet, he says, “If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?” (1 Nephi 17:50-51)

How is it that he cannot instruct me in my life mission? How is it that he cannot help me fulfill my personal commandments? He can—He will. I just need to be faithful, diligent, and actually do it! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

I use to think that it was SO sweet for Abraham Lincoln to call his mother an angel. Homeschooling has it's perks, like the fact that I learned that Abraham Lincoln's mother died when he was nine. So he was referring to his biological mother, and not his step mother in this quote. Although my mother isn't not an angel in that way--she is an angel here on earth, and I owe everything to her because of it.
My mother and me!
 My mom is a million things to me--she is a support, she is encouragement, she is love, she is kindness, she is discipline, she is fun-loving, she is charity, she is a Christ-follower and typifies Him. My mom is an amazing leader, and a diligent follower. My mom's testimony of her Savior shines bright and influences everyone around her. I am so thankful that I grew up in a home with the Savior as our foundation. My mom is intelligent and humble. My mom works to overcome all that life throws at her with grace and patience. I am so sure that everyone has a list like mine. It might not be the same exact things on that list, but a list none the less of all of the ways that their mother influenced them. The power of mothers is real. 

While we are in the depths of mothering, sometimes it seems very small, it seems very insignificant. We aren't seen by the world as anything important. Our sphere of influence is small--limited to the few children we are raising. Yet I look at my grandmother who just turned 95. She had so many of her posterity at her birthday party. Among her off-spring are Lawyers, dentists, musicians, artists, therapists, business owners, government officials, many other positions, and many other mothers influencing new generations. You can't tell me that her sphere of influence is small. She has blessed the lives of thousands by raising her four children. 
Four generations at my grandmother's 95th birthday party

Our sphere of influence isn't just limited to our own children either. I get to live in the same ward as my mother-in-law and can't tell you how many times I have heard grown women sequel and hug her calling her "Mom!" These are the girls she took to girls camp. She loved them, encouraged them, and helped to shape them to become the women they are today. She is an influence still on her grown sons, her daughter-in-laws, and grandchildren. We are so thankful for her!
Thomson women
"One of the greatest needs in the world today is intelligent, conscientious motherhood. …
Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother’s image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child’s mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness the first assurance that there is love in the world." David O. McKay

Conscientious motherhood is something that I am working on. I love these adorable children. I feel very blessed to be their mother. The responsibility is great. I constantly feel overwhelmed and under qualified. I find comfort in Elder Holland's words, "May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you."

Happy Mother's Day to all amazing women who take a moment to care about children!

Happy Mother's day to my amazing mother, mother-in-law, sisters, sister-in-laws, aunts, grandma, primary teachers, YW leaders, teachers, and many other women that helped shape my life! Thank you!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A little history

Since I just wrote my 500th blog post, I thought that I would commemorate by writing a little history of my blog.

My first blog post was written at the end of December 2007 seven and a half years ago to record the happenings of Christmas that year with our then family of three. 

I then blogged over at www.teamthonson.blogspot.com. I spelled my own last name wrong when I found a blog address. I realized it the day of my first blog post but thought it was too much hassle to change it that day. I continued to blog at that address for four more years until September 2011, right after the twins turned one. 280 of my blog posts are from that site. 

When I blogged at Team Thomson, it was the golden era of mommy blogs. Everyone had one to keep family all over in touch with what was going on with the little ones. Back then women would read each others blogs and do this crazy thing called commenting! We would support and strengthen each other through personal messages telling one another that we were doing great. We didn't get intimidated by the professional bloggers. It was as if the clouds parted for me, and I didn't feel so alone anymore. I loved it!

I am so glad that I keep my little blog.

I wish that I blogged more.

I have had 31,737 blog views at this address and 12,068 at the old address. So for sure not a professional blog, yet I do hope that maybe what I have said has brought hope or happiness to someone. 

My all time most popular blog post--by a HUGE landslide is Dinner with the Latter-day apostles. The pictures are really lame and the write up could use a little work, but the idea was straight from God, and one of the best he has given me so I can see why it is a popular post. 

Thank you for reading!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Enjoying the journey

On March, 31st (the evening of Max's birthday) we left for a much anticipated trip to AZ. Celebrated Max's 7th birthday the day before (That post still to come.) Left after Josh got off work and headed south. We knew we wouldn't make it all the way to the A-Z, but we had not plans of where to stop or what we were going to see along the way.  
We decided that we were only going to keep our sanity until around Cedar City. We then thought it would be fun to go to Cedar break and Zions the next day. We had never been to Kolb canyon. We were given a National Parks Pass for Christmas this year and we have been trying to get our National Parks Passport as many stamps as we can this year!
We checked into our very sketchy hotel late that night and crashed, trying not to wonder when the last time the hotel room had been cleaned! Lucky for us, it only set us back $45. Then next morning we did some exploring around Cedar City and I fell IN LOVE!! I had never been inside the city except for a DCFS visit many years ago. We drove up the Canyon and I felt at home. The beauty was breath taking. Unfortunately the road to Cedar Breaks was closed, but I didn't care. The drive was amazing. 
We then went into the Kolob Canyon part of Zions and found some amazing views. It was FREEZING and hazy, but so amazing!

We for sure had some joy in our journey that day. The rest of the trip to AZ was fun and relaxing. I love taking road trip with my little family!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Going rouge

When you have four babies in four years, and then there is a four year gap before you have another—things get forgotten. I was so on my game when I had the twins. I had this baby thing down. After all, I had just had two singletons (twin mom speak for just one baby) in quick succession. I knew the ins and outs of baby sleeping, baby feeding, baby wearing, nursing, tummy time, and baby gear. I could have written a book. Except that even from the time I had my oldest in 2006 to the time I had the twins in 2010, a few things had changed.
This time around I decided to throw away the how to books, delete the baby center searches, and just trust my gut. It was the advice I gave “new moms” at baby showers, and the only thing I really think I have learned so far about parenting (besides that I don’t know anything about parenting.)
So Monday, I was FINALLY processing a couple pumpkins that I had sitting around since fall. I roasted the pumpkin seeds, baked, and pureed the pumpkin.  Abi was sitting in her high chair, just taking in the business of the day. As she started fussing while I was pureeing a batch of baked pumpkin, I looked at her and wondered if she wanted some. “It is just squash after all” I said to myself. “I haven’t given her food yet, but she is five and a half months old” came my next thought. “I’m pretty sure that I gave my other kids rice cereal by five months and this has got to be better for her than rice cereal!” So I put a tablespoon in a bowl, grabbed a baby spoon and sat down with her.
Abi was LOVING it! 
She was such a good eater. “I really have forgotten so much about the steps of babyhood.” I told her as she squished the orange goop back out at me between her gums. “I sometimes feel like a first time mom—only this time I just don’t care!”
After Abi finished her pumpkin she graced me with a ten minute nap, so I decided to nab a shower before my husband got home. As I was showering, I was basking in the fact that I had gone rouge in the motherhood department. I didn’t plan and anticipate her first feeding. I didn’t look up what the best food to start with was. I didn’t even look at what I could and couldn’t feed her. As I was fishing pumpkin seeds out of my teeth the horrible thought struck me—wait, aren’t there forbidden foods? Things that if I give them to my daughter before a year can seriously hurt her or cause major allergies?
I hurried out of the shower, grabbed my phone and instantly went to baby center

Luckily, since my first children, they have taken most foods off of the forbidden-before-a-year-list and are actually encouraging you to give your child things like honey, eggs, and strawberries. Relief washed over me and peace exchanged panic in my mind. I didn’t kill my baby—and she loves pureed pumpkins.

And that is the story of the one time I tried to go rouge as a parent.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What is in a name?

Abigail Grace Thomson

                Choosing Abigail’s name proved to be much harder than any other child. I was pretty sure that I was going to have a boy. I was wrong about EVERY SINGLE CHILD! The twins I was right about them being a boy and a girl, but I thought Cooper was a girl and Amelia was a boy. While waiting to have the big 20 week ultrasound, we tossed a lot of names around—not one of them was a girl name. While I was pregnant, I was reading the book Oliver Twist. I was taken by how good this little boy wanted to be. He prayed that he could die before he had to steal. It was pretty amazing and I really wanted my children to have such tenacious character. I fell in love with the name, and Josh and I decided on Oliver Benjamin Thomson.  We only referred to the fetus as him and a couple times we joked, “what if it isn’t a boy?” You can imagine my shock when the ultrasound tech told me that we were having a girl.

                I was happy, oh so happy to be having another girl, just very much surprised! That night we went to the Ogden Nature Center for a night about Owl’s (which was pretty amazing by the way.) While we were walking around the Nature Center, I was still processing the fact that I was having a girl. I remember right where I was standing when I had this feeling that we should name her Abby. I got really excited about that idea until I remembered that I didn’t want to give any of my kids the same letter for their first initial. Over the next month or so Josh and I threw out names and instantly vetoed the other’s choice. All of the names we really loved either started with a A or M (no good—Amelia and Max already took those letters!)

                The name Josh really wanted: Brooklyn Grace. The name I really wanted: Lucy Anne. These both fit all of our criteria but we weren’t unanimous about it. This was SO different for us. We always agreed on a name within a few days of finding out what we were having. I also really really liked the name Beatrice. I loved the name Bea for short. It was a no go for Josh. Finally after about a month Josh got a little fed up and told me that one of my “rules” about naming our children had to fly out the window because there was no way we were going to agree on a name otherwise.

                As soon as we threw out the rule about not having the same initial, we agreed on the names Abigail and Adaline. We first decided on Adaline, but it didn’t feel right. We both loved it but the confirmation that we had always felt didn’t come. We then decided to ponder on Abigail. I have 3 Abigails in my family history, but they are so far back, I didn’t know if I would ever get stories about them. On my Grandpa Mangum’s side, Abigail Howe was married to Benjamin Holden. On my Grandma Mangum’s side, Abigail Rawson was married to Silas Partridge. On my Grandma Anderson’s side Abigail Miles was married to Joseph Swasey. I still felt like I needed more confirmation. It came when I was then reading in 1 Samuel 25:3. It was describing Abigail, wife of Nabal “She was a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance.” This is one of my favorite stories in the bible. Nabal offended David and his wife, Abigail, goes to David and asks to take her husband’s offence on her and accept her apology. She then offers David’s troops lots of food and beverages. David decides not to war against Nabal and all is forgiven. It was then that I got the confirmation I was seeking. We often call her Abi—short for Abigail or even more often lately, B—short for Abi.

                Grace was on a very short list for a middle name. Josh’s grandma’s name is Grace and has always been one of my favorite names. Josh also had another Grace in his family on his Grandma Thomson’s line. Grace was married to Richard Penaliggan. I liked Anne also (my middle name), but it wasn’t Josh’s favorite. Last May, before we knew if she was a boy or a girl, I attended Women’s Conference. The whole conference was based on Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (My favorite talk is found here) The whole conference was on Grace. It wasn’t something that I had given a lot of thought to before. Basically I learned that Grace is the power of God. Grace is His power that He gives us to be able to withstand the trials of life. I rubbed my belly and said, “too bad you aren’t a girl, I would name you Grace.” (ha ha ha!) When we found out that I was wrong, it became the only middle name we both agreed on. Josh didn’t like it for a first name (it would have met all my criteria.)

                In my church we have a special day where we give our babies a “name and a *blessing.” It is similar the christening in other churches. Abigail was blessed January 25th 2015 at our ward building. It was the first baby we actually blessed in our *ward. Josh gave her such a sweet blessing. Before I met Josh, I thought that a “good blessing” was one the waxed eloquent and poetic. I thought the placements of words were important and that it should stir emotion. Josh has taught me that any humble words are beautiful to God. It was short and oh so sweet.

                I remember that with Amelia I was so happy when he blessed her to serve a mission. I was relieved that he didn’t leave it out just because she was a girl. Yet with Abigail, he blessed her that she would serve the Lord in whatever capacity “He sees fit.” I was so touched, that is my greatest desire for all of my children, they will fulfil their LIFE mission. He blessed her with strength of body, mind, and spirit. He blessed her to become a stalwart strong young woman and to partake in opportunities to learn and grow in the gospel. She was blessed to enter the temple to be married. He blessed her again that she would have strength of body to grow strong with no physical ailments. He blessed Abigail to be an example to those around her. He also offered gratitude to have her as part of our family.

                It was humble, simple, and full of the purest love. It was such an amazing day. My mom made her gorgeous dress. It meant so much to me that she put so many hours into the sweetest dress and cared so much about what I thought of it. I love it so much. It means so much to me that my Mother-in-law made Amelia’s and my Mom made Abigail’s. My Grandma Anderson, years before she passed, started the blanket we used this day--my mom finished it. My sweet friend helped me make a cute headband, and many people helped with food. The day was warm and beautiful—especially for January. My sister was already coming out for a ski trip from WI with her adorable family. My grandma, aunt, uncle, and parents were there also. My dear friend Lorrie was also able to come. It was a magical day for sure!