Category Archives: Parenting

FHE #1 – Creating Paper Mache Worlds

FHE stands for “Family Home Evening“. To tell you the truth, our family has not been very good at preparing for family home evening. When Monday night comes around we usually ask each other, at the last minute, “What’s the lesson for FHE?” We decided that our lack of planning wasn’t working for us. We decided to set aside a time on Saturday to plan out our family home evening. We did it for the first time last week and our FHE rocked! We had time to think and plan the lesson. Then we had time to go buy supplies for our activity and also had time to plan out a treat to eat at the end.

Our church believes in modern-day prophets whole receive inspiration from God and give counsel to the church. The prophet Joseph F. Smith announced in a letter on April 27, 1915 that the church members should hold a weekly family home evening (FHE) in their homes. FHE is family time that is set aside for  “prayer … hymns … family topics … and specific instruction on the principles of the gospel.” In 1970, the prophet announce that FHE night is preferred to be on Monday nights throughout the church and asked that church/leadership meetings should not be held on Monday nights.

I believe that the LDS church sets aside time for families on Monday because we all get so busy with work, school, sports, and other activities that it’s hard to fit in family time at home. In the end, our families is the most important entity we have here on earth and I enjoy spending time with my family on Monday nights.

FHE #1

Song: My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, 228–29)

Lesson: Genesis 1:1 & Lesson 7 in Nursery Manual – Jesus Christ Created the World for Me

Activity: Make paper mache worlds. I found this blog about making paper mache planets.

Micah is growing up!

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This little kid always has a dirty face! I’m proud to be his mom. He loves to sing songs and dance. He is 27 months old (2 years and 3 months). He is starting to speak in sentences. He says things like “I want fire truck”. “Mommy, where did you go?” “Bye bye mommy, nap time”. “I want pancake!” “Pee pee in potty? Ok.”

As difficult as 2 years old are… I love it all at the same time!

Family Pictures Wearing Handmade Clothes

My neighbor and friend, Heather has a sewing blog and I took her family pictures while they wore clothes that she made herself. How cool is that? Isn’t it such a unique idea? Here‘s the link to her post about making her clothes for the photo shoot. Also, don’t you think the cool big leaves they brought really added to the picture?

On a side note, I’ve taken pictures of a lot of little kids. Little kids are definitely my favorite to take pictures of. Here are some tips for taking family pictures with little kids.

First, use the first 10 minutes wisely because that is probably all the time you’ll have to get your little kids to pose for the picture. My best pictures always come from the beginning of the photo shoot such as the picture posted on the top.  Also, before the shoot, make sure your camera is set to continuous shooting mode so you can snap pictures fast.

Second, go the direction the kid is looking at instead of making them turn to you.

Third, poses while holding the child is best if they won’t stand still for you.

Fourth, after the child/children get restless, just capture the moment as you and the parents play with the children. Bring something that will capture their attention like a whistle or toy. Tell the parents it’s ok if their kid doesn’t want to pose. Little kids gets really upset when they are forced to do something they don’t want to and that doesn’t make a happy family picture.

Fifth, don’t drag out the photo shoot. Once the kid is done the photo shoot is over! 🙂

What are your tips while photographing little children?

We Converted a Single Stroller to Double Stroller

UPDATE 1/11/2015: By the time my younger son grew out of the carrier car seat (~12 months)… My neighbor gave us their old double stroller. It was bulky!!! I only used it for like a month until my older son preferred to walk everywhere (~3 years old). I put the basket back on the Baby Trend Expedition Jogging stroller and is currently using it as a single stroller again for my youngest and my older son prefers to walk or ride his scooter! This stroller is lasting us a long time!

UPDATE 2/4/2014: A friend suggested that you could strap on ankle weights on the front of the stroller to help with the tipping issue and to give the stroller a better center of balance. You can strap the ankle weights onto the bars next to the front wheels or onto the bars next to the base of the seat or under the base of the seat. My baby is now 7 months and I’ve used the stroller for almost 5 months now. He’s a big baby and has almost grown out of the car seat but this stroller has been a life saver for the last few months!! We also tried to put another baby carrier in the front seat. It worked great. Just remember to always put the baby in the front seat before attaching the baby on the bottom to avoid tipping issues. Also, remember to put the heavier kid in the front seat. 

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When we were in Ireland I really wanted to buy a double stroller because I knew we were going to have another baby but double strollers are so expensive! When our first child was born we spent the money to buy a new Baby Trend Expedition ELX Travel System Stroller set. It came with a stroller, matching car seat and car seat base. We like the stroller because of the big basket on the bottom and because of the big wheels. One thing that I didn’t like about the stroller is that it’s too heavy to be a jogging stroller. I’ve tried multiple times to go jogging with this stroller and the front wheel is wobbly and not aligned properly. However, this stroller is good for casual walks and is great for shopping! After baby#2 was born, I felt constrained inside because we didn’t have a double stroller yet. One day, this idea came to me out of the blue like inspiration from heaven. I felt like God knew I wanted a double stroller and he provided a way for me to make my single stroller into a double stroller.

First, we went to Lowes. The people there were super excited to help us with our project. We eventually found a 6 inch carabiner for $2.98. They hardware guy at Lowes also told me they sell them at Babies R Us as “Mommy Hooks” but they cost $6.99 each for the same thing.

DISCLAIMER: This post has nothing to do with the Baby Trend company. This is just an idea that is not covered by manufacture warranties. This stroller is NOT designed to be a double stroller and has its flaws. This may damage your stroller and or car seat. I am not responsible to any injuries, deaths or damages if you choose to try this idea. Another hazard is that this may cause damage to your car seat locking mechanism which would result in safety issues while using it with your car seat base as most manufactures don’t recommend you locking your car seat into shopping carts and ect. Using your stroller like this may also void your manufacture warranty. Use this idea at your own risk.

For this project all you need is:

Here a video on how we made the stroller:

Here are the written instructions with pictures.

  1. Take off the basket that comes with the stroller. It should snap right off the front then there are two pins holding the basket in the back on the sides. Press the pins in and the basket comes off without ruining the stroller or the basket.
  2. Put on the brakes so the stroller doesn’t move while you’re attaching the car seat.
  3. Change the car seat handle to the up 90 degree position and attach the carabiners to each side of the handles. 
  4. Hook the car seat indents to the axle of the back wheel of the stroller. 
  5. Hook the carabiners to the stroller as shown in the pictures  
  6. Put the toddler in FIRST because with the car seat attached makes the stroller back heavy so it could tip. However, it is pretty stable unless someone pushes it over. After you have your toddler in you can put your baby in the car seat. ALWAYS use the seat belts just in case the stroller tips. 
  7. To take off the car seat all you have to do is un-clip the carabiners. Pull the release in the front of the car seat and take the car seat off the axle.  Remember to take the car seat/baby off first before you take the toddler off to prevent tipping.

I’ve used this stroller for 2 months and I love it. I’ve gotten really good at attaching the car seat and detaching it. It only cost us 6 bucks to transform our stroller into a double stroller and I expect the stroller to last until my baby grows out of the car seat. The stroller is also very compacted compared to a normal double stroller. This double stroller can also get through doors.

So there you have it, a single stroller that converts to a double stroller. There are some obvious flaws to this double stroller idea because this stroller is NOT designed to be a double stroller. Here are some things to consider:

  • The tipping issue as discussed above. However, the stroller is pretty stable as long as you have the toddler in front before you put the baby in the car seat. Whenever I have just the baby in the car seat, I’m just extremely cautious that the toddler doesn’t tip the stroller over with the baby inside.
  • The brakes are harder to access with the car seat attached but all you have to do is bend down and use your hands.
  • You can keep the carabiners clipped on the car seat or stroller to safe keeping.
  • Using this idea cause casual damage/scratches to the stroller but it’s just like how any other well used stroller would be.
  • Tuck the car seat strap on the bottom of the car seat under the car seat cover so you don’t step on it.
  • The car seat does stick out a bit so it takes some adjusting before you stop hitting it with your feet but I’ve gotten use to is and I don’t kick it anymore.
  • You don’t have a big basket anymore and because you don’t have a basket don’t be tempted to set heavy things in the cup holders. Really heavy things place on top of the cup holders could tip your stroller over.
  • So far this design only works for the Baby Trend Expedition ELX version of the stroller. We tried it on a Baby Trend Expedition Jogging stroller and it didn’t work.
  • Try attaching and detaching the car seat a few times before trying to do it with a baby as it takes some practice to get the gripping right.
  • Again this could cause damage to the car seat locking mechanism which would be a big hazard while using the car seat in your car. You can also try strapping your car seat instead of using the car seat base or use a different car seat in the car to prevent issues with using a damaged car seat.
  • I also wouldn’t recommend jogging with this stroller especially with the car seat attached to the bottom.

Again read the DISCLAIMER message above before trying this idea. This stroller has not been safety test. This is just a “make it do” idea. May be someone can convince Baby Trend to make a stroller like this for me. Let me know what discoveries you find!

General Conference Recap

Every six months (in April and October) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a worldwide church meeting called general conference. The meeting last for 10 hours over the course of two days. During general conference, we receive counsel from our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, his apostles, and other church leaders. General conference is broadcast on TV, the radio, and online. The talks are then available afterwards on lds.org to read and study. We believe that if we follow the counsel given in the sermons at general conference that our lives will be blessed. As we listen to general conference, we believe that God can speak to our hearts through the Holy Ghost. Everyone can receive their own personalized counsel during general conference.

After pondering and reading over my notes from conference, two things stuck out to me:

1) Be a Mom

2) Be a Missionary

…. Be a Mother Missionary.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a talk about the influence of a good women. He talked about his grandma and how she “never learned how to drive a car, but she knew how to help boys become priesthood men.” He also posed the question from Neal A. Maxwell “Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congress?”

Also during the conference, our prophet announced that our church has reached 15 million members and have currently have over 80,000 full-time missionaries.

President Monson said that “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together to work together to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto him.” He also quoted a past prophet, President McKay saying, “Every member a missionary.”

A couple days before general conference, I got a few of my friends in our ward together for a temple trip. We dressed up our 2 year-old sons as little missionaries and took pictures of them. Aren’t they cute?

I learned during conference being a mother is being a missionary. Mothers in the church are teaching their kids to be future missionaries. Our homes should be like the MTC. Even at this young age, we teach our kids about God and His Son Jesus Christ. We also teach them that they are children of God and that God loves them very much. We teach our kids how to pray to God and how to receive answers to their prayers. We teach them good morals such as sharing their cookies and serving others.

We teach them the reason why they are on earth is to be happy and in order to be truly happy we have to follow of the commandments of God the best we can. We, as mothers, prepare our kids to choose to be baptized when they are eight year old. We teach them that we make mistakes but because of Jesus Christ’s atonement we can change and be a better person.

We prepare our sons to receive the priesthood when they turn twelve and go on missions when they turn eighteen.

We teach our children that the temple is the house of God and we go there to make promises to God to be the best person we can be. We teach them that the temple is where families can be sealed together forever. We are teaching our children to be future missionaries but most importantly we are teaching them to become good husbands/fathers and wives/mothers.

I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me “Don’t worry if your kids take up all your time… it’s what you’re suppose to be doing. Taking care of your kids is the most important form of missionary work!”

So then I asked myself the question “Why do I do missionary work?” For me it is because I know that God lives and Jesus Christ lives. I know that by obeying God’s commandments and following His prophets we are truly happy. Throughout the years my faith has been tested but I still know this day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church. I know that the fullness of the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I love my kids and I want to share with them everything I know to be true.

Why do you do missionary work? What did you learn during conference? Please share with me what you learned! Feel free to share, pin, Facebook these images.

Missionaries loves cookies! It was the only way we got them to sit still and special thanks for all the moms for letting me use their kids. 🙂

Can’t forget my newest little future missionary:

Here are some fun graphics I made:

Here’s a behind the scenes picture of the moms. It’s so hard to get five 2 year-old to sit still! 🙂

2 Year Old Photoshoot

Our little Micah turned two! He is so smart now. He knows that you’ve turned off the music toy so he turns it back on. He has day to day memory now so it’s a sad day when he loses his favorite car toy. I can’t wait to experience the terrific twos!! He is so fun.

At 2 years old Micah likes:

  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Juice, Milk,  Pasta, Pancake, Cake, Peaches, Bananas, Bread, Chicken Nuggets, Beans and Rice
  • Candy
  • CARS CARS AND MORE CARS especially Lightening McQueen
  • Shoes… he won’t take off his shoes
  • Car games on the Ipad
  • Youtube
  • Thomas the Train
  • His balance bike that we made for him
  • TV
  • Reading his Thomas the Train Book
  • The color blue
  • Coloring
  • A Blue Yamaha Motorcycle
  • Going outside

Micah can say:

  • All the alphabet except “W”
  • Please
  • 90% of his prayers at night
  • Count from 1 to 10
  • Lots of two letter phrases some of his favorites are “All Done” “Ball Wee!”
  • Three letter phrases like “There you go”
  • Longest sentence so far “Pee pee in the potty outside”
  • Some of Micah’s favorite words are: Outside, iPad, Car, Bus, E-I-E-I-O, Temple (He calls temple bubble), Church, Popcorn, Juice, Food, Cake… cake cake …, Peaches, Baby, Abulance, Air Plane, Ball, Truck
  • I would guess he can say about 150 words or more

Micah can recognize:

  • All the letters in the alphabet
  • Shapes and Colors
  • All types of cars

Micah’s favorite songs:

  • ABCs
  • I love to see the Temple
  • Book of Mormon Stories
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Old McDonald

Micah is:

  • 85% Potty Trained
  • Really Funny
  • Clever
  • Awesome napper/sleeper
  • A runner

Quentin’s First Pictures

Here are some of Quentin’s first baby pictures. My birth story is written here. These were taken at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin, Ireland. These pictures were taken within 1 hour of the birth.

The midwife’s name was Grace. She was the only person other than my husband in the room with us. She delivered, checked the baby and cleaned up. It was nice having only one additional person at the birth. She was such a good midwife! She even visited me at my home before the birth during my pre-natal check-ups and she visited me after the baby was born! It was wonderful. I wish I would’ve taken her back to the USA!

Here’s daddy and the new baby!

Here’s mommy and the baby!

Here Mommy and Daddy with the new baby! Micah, the other brother is not in the picture. He was at home with one of our friends.