Thursday, August 28, 2014

Love List: Crazy Emma Things

1. Swim lessons
This was the highlight of our week - Emma started her first swim lessons! She worked on getting in and out of the pool by herself, blowing bubbles under the water, and floating on her tummy and back while kicking her legs. I'm not sure we made much progress, but she (and we!) had so much fun. I think it really helped to see the other kids in her class and try and copy them. Can't wait for next week :)

2. Splash monster
This crazy girl loves to make us laugh. She has these triggers that make her go crazy in attempts to make us laugh. Bath time has become a very wet event for all of us.

3. Splash pad tunnel
Even though we want summer to be endless, the rest of the world seems to be moving on :( All the fun pools and splash pads around Austin are closing so we made one last trip to our favorite splash pad. At the beginning of the summer Em hated splash pads and wouldn't go near them. Now she pokes her head right in. She was practicing going through this little tunnel but couldn't quite understand why she couldn't get under some of the smaller ones. Silly girl.

4. Toot
Em's latest book obsession is Toot. She makes us read it over and over and over. Hans and I are not fans of it, but for some reason she loves it. It's really silly. Thanks, Bapa (sense the sarcasm?).

5. Leo the Lion
She learned this song in nursery (we clearly didn't... I'm pretty sure I've got the words wrong) and she LOVES it. Her little roar kills me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

TFOT: Roots and Branches

I had a hard time preparing for this lesson, but in the end it turned out pretty great. And I say that while taking absolutely zero credit. Elder Cook's talk is about family history and temple work, why they are important and how we do them.

While I have done some indexing and poked through, I haven't delved too deeply into family history. On my dad's side, we come from a very large, very Mormon family and as far as I can tell most of the work is already done. This lesson definitely changed my outlook on that.

Because I felt inadequate to teach on this, I reached out to three women in our ward who are family history experts. Two are our ward Family History consultants, the other an avid fan. I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of knowledge these women possess and the excitement with which they shared it with the class. If you are teaching this lesson, I strongly urge you to rely on your ward family history consultants and let them share with the class.

Elder Cook's talk is divided into three sections, so I structured the lesson the same way. I'm including my loose outline here, as usual, but since so much of the content for this one came from the three other women and the class, I will include that in italics. I mostly scribed on the board (forgive my bad handwriting) and I recommend doing this so class members may be able to keep track of the resources given.
As usual, good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

TFOT lesson outline, Roots and Branches

Intro: Elder Cook begins by talking about the great question of what happens after we die. He says that through our Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness, we are assured of eternal life. He says, “In this life we laugh, we cry, we work, we play, we live, and then we die. Job asks the succinct question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” The answer is a resounding yes because of the atoning sacrifice of the Savior. “ He talks about how families are central to this plan and how the scriptures speak repeatedly about our “roots and branches.”

He divided his talk into three topical sections and that’s how we’ll break up our discussion today: Doctrine, Temples, and Technology.

Quote 1: “Elijah’s return occurred in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836. He declared he was fulfilling Malachi’s promise. He committed the priesthood keys for sealing families in this dispensation. Elijah’s mission is facilitated by what is sometimes called the spirit of Elijah, which, as Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught, is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family.””

What is the spirit of Elijah?
  • a feeling of connection with your ancestors. Wanting to know more about them
  • feeling deeply the importance of the family. Wanting to do everything possible to be with them forever
  • Also makes you want to improve yourself in order to obtain exaltation and be with them forever

What is the doctrinal basis for vicarious temple work?
  • the ordinances performed are essential for salvation and exaltation
  • they allow for eternal progression
  • they support finding YOUR names

Quote 2: “The Savior was emphatic about the necessity of baptism. He taught, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The Savior was personally baptized to set the example. What about the deceased who have not been baptized?”

What is your understanding of temple work for the dead?
  • it's just providing an opportunity. the person who the ordinance is performed for must still choose to accept the work done on their behalf
  • despite the amount of work that has been done, there are still so many people actively waiting for the work
  • someone pulled out a quote I'm not familiar with about how the large majority of people whose work has been done WILL accept the Gospel in the spirit world

One interesting distinction that Elder Cook makes is that we are responsible for OUR dead.
Quote 3: “The doctrine of the family in relation to family history and temple work is clear. The Lord in initial revelatory instructions referred to “baptism for your dead.” Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors. This is because the celestial organization of heaven is based on families.

Family history constultant #1 shared here about performing work for our own ancestors and gave an intro into how you start that. She had handouts with information on one side and a basic family tree structure on the back (I believe these are available in the family history center). She also brought temple ordinance cards and talked about the differences between them and how you initiate the process to perform family names.

This may be an obvious question but it's just to get the ball rolling. Why are temples necessary for this doctrine?
  • because that is the only place with the correct authority to perform these binding ordinances

Quote 4: “Less than a year after President Thomas S. Monson was called as an Apostle, he dedicated the Los Angeles Temple Genealogical Library. He spoke of deceased ancestors “waiting [for] the day when you and I will do the research which is necessary to clear the way, … [and] likewise go into the house of God and perform that work … that they … cannot perform.”

The statistics on temple building are pretty impressive. According to Elder Cook, when Pres. Monson dedicated that library, there were only 12 temples existing. Now there are 142, with 28 more that have been announced. I was surprised to read that 85 percent of church members live within 200 miles of a temple.

What is your reaction to these statistics? Sure, they are impressive, but what do they mean?
  • we need to go more often
  • as these temples pop up, they are a beacon of righteousness to the world
  • temples provide us with continual goals
  • the increasing number of temples and their proximity emphasizes how important they are to Heavenly Father's plan
  • we are given even more opportunities for blessings that we should take advantage of

Quote 5: “What a great time to be alive. This is the last dispensation, and we can feel the hastening of the work of salvation in every area where a saving ordinance is involved. We now have temples across much of the world to provide these saving ordinances. Attending the temple for spiritual renewal, peace, safety, and direction in our lives is also a great blessing.”

There has been great emphasis on building temples and making it possible for everyone to attend. I feel this is so indicative of the importance of this work. To me, the rate at which temples are spreading across the earth gives me a sense of the urgency of the work.

Sister #2 spoke at this point. She brought in a personal, spiritual aspect of how it felt as she performed the work for her family members. She said she felt compelled by her ancestors to quickly complete it. Her comments pertained mostly to the temple and the blessings that come from performing the work there.

Quote 6: “President Howard W. Hunter declared in November 1994: “We have begun using information technology to hasten the sacred work of providing ordinances for the deceased. The role of technology … has been accelerated by the Lord himself. … However, we stand only on the threshold of what we can do with these tools.” In the 19 years since this prophetic statement, the acceleration of technology is almost unbelievable. A 36-year-old mother of young children recently exclaimed to me, “Just think—we have gone from microfilm readers in dedicated family history centers to sitting at my kitchen table with my computer doing family history after my children are finally asleep.”


I feel like Elder Cook is basically saying… you have no excuse for not doing it. You can do it any time, in your own home. The tools are abundantly available, more so than any other time.

Family History Consultant #2 spoke here and had so much information. She outlined the various websites and mobile apps that can be used for family history work.
  • indexing (digitizing of physical records so that people can search them)
  • now gives hints AND allows you to upload pictures, documents, and sources to back up the information there
  • helps locate the "holes" in your family tree
  • now available free to members through Sign in using your sign in information.
  • Billion Graves: a mobile app that allows you to photograph gravestones so that others can search for them without physically traveling to that cemetery.
    • How to clean a gravestone before photographing: use a soft brush and water. Don't use soap and don't make a chalk rubbing.
  • Also check out websites for genealogical societies. You can email them and they are most helpful.
  • The church offers online courses if you'd like to learn more about the process.

Elder Cook says:
Quote 7: “If the youth in each ward will not only go to the temple and do baptisms for their dead but also work with their families and other ward members to provide the family names for the ordinance work they perform, both they and the Church will be greatly blessed. Don’t underestimate the influence of the deceased in assisting your efforts and the joy of ultimately meeting those you serve. The eternally significant blessing of uniting our own families is almost beyond comprehension.

At the close of his talk, Elder Cook draws a parallel between us and Christ. Christ overcame death for mankind because we could not do this for ourselves. When we perform vicarious ordinances, we are similarly overcoming obstacles for others and acting as saviors in Mount Zion. In this way, he says, we can nourish the roots and branches of our family tree and be exalted with our families.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Endless summer

Facebook and Instagram tell me that school started this week for the kiddies. Thankfully for us, that just means that all our favorite activities just became a lot less crowded! Here's to an endless summer.
I want YOU... to take me swimming.
Summer means... playing at the park all night.
Summer means... not wearing clothes around the house.
My friend Rachel suggested letting Emma help me in the kitchen and it has been so awesome! I pull a chair up and she will help bake and do dishes and she is SO proud of herself. I love it.
 Not interested in breakfast. But sat here like this watching Lilo and Stitch. She cracks me up!
Censored! Mama thinks she's hilarious.
 For FHE, we did a little exploring downtown. We visited the Hope Outdoor Gallery and watched some artists at work. It changes all the time so we may have to revisit it in a few months!
Crushin' it
Then we took Em into BookPeople. She was in heaven.
And topped off the night with dessert and the playground on the roof of Whole Foods. Perfect summer night!

Monday, August 25, 2014

30 While 30

A few weeks ago, my friend Allison posted about how she was starting a "30 Things to Do Before 30" list.

"What a great idea!" I thought (and said).
"You should do one, too!" She said.

Oh, wait, I have less than 30 days 'til I'm 30. Soooo...  that's probably not going to work. So instead we are calling it my "30 WHILE 30" list, and it was really fun to put together. Hans helped me finalize it tonight and we laughed til we cried. It was a great thing to do together to talk about dreams and goals, something that can get lost in the day-to-day of work and parenting and... life. We enjoyed it so much that he's going to do one, too. I'm looking forward to hearing what are the things he dreams of doing.
Since technically it's Mama Monday, I guess I should tie this list in with being a mama. So here's my [probably unasked for] two cents: One thing I thought a lot about before becoming a mom was whether I would lose myself a little bit. Maybe it's just my character or maybe it's symptomatic of motherhood, I don't know, but I find it easy to put the things I want to learn, do, create, experience on hold in favor of things that I want my child to learn, do, create and experience.

But that ain't healthy for mama, and it ain't healthy for baby, really. A happy mama is a good mama. So even amid the piles of laundry, the swim lessons, the storytimes, the park visits, the play dates, I think it's keenly important for Mom to have things that are just hers. That help her to grow and think and feel fulfilled just for herself.

That's how I picked the things on my 30 While 30 list. Some of these are more "bucket list" type items, things I have always wanted to do. Some are things that I can't believe I have gone 30 years without doing and I guess I think anyone who calls herself an adult should have done by now. Some are small things that I keep saying I'm going to do but always put off.

I'll try to check in frequently so you can keep me accountable for making some progress! And if you have any other suggestions, leave them below. I'm open to making changes and technically I still have a few weeks ;)

30 While 30

  1. sew a quilt 
  2. learn to knit (and complete one project) 
  3. finally design our wedding album 
  4. find, scan and organize all photos 
  5. sell something I designed (invitations, cards, party packages) 
  6. read 20 books from a Top 100 Novels of All Time list (can’t have read before). I like this one generated by librarians.
  7. watch 10 of IMDB’s Top 100 Movies of All Time (can’t have seen before) 
  8. run a half marathon 
  9. try stand-up paddleboarding 
  10. take a ballroom dance class 
  11. see a ballet 
  12.  find at least one family name to take to the temple 
  13. attend a session at the San Diego temple 
  14. attend general conference 
  15. create a 3-month food storage 
  16. read the Book of Mormon in french 
  17. perform one random act of kindness each month 
  18. make homemade ice cream 
  19. create my own recipe from scratch 
  20. host a dinner party (a fancy one!) 
  21. take a cake decorating class 
  22. 12 months of cakes (and then deliver each to a different friend) 
  23. get a manicure 
  24. get a king-sized bed 
  25. learn to drive a stick shift
  26. visit a new country (can't have been before)
  27. *redacted personal goal (hey, sorry. some are too personal to share).
  28. go to the State of Texas Fair and Rodeo 
  29. try one of Austin’s highest rated restaurants 
  30. take a weekend trip with Hans (no baby!) to celebrate

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Love list: Happy Little Things

1. All About That Bass
Em and I have been rocking out to this song on repeat all week. It's so fun and she loves to shake it shake it. I wish I could shake it shake it like the guy in this video!

2. Banana Nutella Cookies
The other night I had a bad sweet tooth. And a bunch of almost bad bananas. And those two bads made one very good when I made these delicious nutella-stuffed banana cookies from Recipe Girl.
I left out the mini-chocolate chips (didn't have 'em) and added 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon (because I think everything needs cinnamon). Make sure that (unlike me) you space these out pretty far because they spread like crazy. And you end up with one big cookie. And your husband laughs at you. But in all seriousness, they are delicious. Like... the lovechild of banana bread and cookies. Yum.

3. Fringe Binge
Lately I've been satisfying my Netflix habit by binge watching Fringe. Have you seen it? It took me a while to get into it but after several episodes, I'm hooked. I only have a handful of episodes left in the series (read: I'll be done by tomorrow) and I'm so sad. Tear! If you liked Lost, you'll like this. Another JJ Abrams creation, he revisits some similar themes and concepts (and actors!). Seasons 1 and 2 are the best, season 5 feels a little half-baked. But it's definitely worth a binge. What will I do next? Hit me up with your recommendations!

4. Candle good enough to eat
Found this baby on sale last week. The label claims it smells like "carmel-glazed popcorn, warm taffy-apples, and salted, sweet cream." I think it smells like heaven. And it makes me want sweets. But what doesn't?

5. Cute giveaway
My sweet might-as-well-be-sister-in-law Karina has the cutest giveaway from As Darling Does going on her blog right now. Karina shows Mr. Ryan with some of their adorable bow ties, but I was surprised to realize they have really cute headbands and blankets and stuff, too. I have to get Emma to keep some of these on because they are too cute! Head over to Karina's blog now to enter to win.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spiritual Thought: Find Joy

This little tile has been tucked in a corner of my kitchen since we moved in. It was a wedding gift from my beehive advisor. I don't know if she knew before she made it or if she's just *that* good (she probably is), but this is one of my all-time favorite talks.

It comes from Pres. Thomas S. Monson in the October 2008 Conference and it's titled "Finding Joy in the Journey." Each time I read it, it speaks to me in a different way than it did before. When he first gave it in conference, it struck a chord with me as he talked about the Music Man:
"You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays."
That's definitely something I've been guilty of. "If I can just make it to the weekend" or "In a couple months work will be better" and I find that I'm just waiting for the time to pass. That's a scary thing to realize, that you're basically waiting for life to pass you by instead of enjoying it more fully.

But I digress. Let's come back to today. What stuck out most to me reading this talk today:
"Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. "
How appropriate for the little stresses that have been getting the better of me lately. Food poisoning. Broken water pipes. Failed car inspections. And too many little things I'm LETTING get to me. That's the operative word "letting." There will always be stresses. But as I mentioned in my post yesterday, there are always good things, too. They may be small, but they are precious and we can see them if we choose to look for them.

Pres. Monson also says:
"When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth."
When I think of it this way, I realize those little stresses are just that. Very little. And instead of being a little down, my cup runneth over. I hope that each of you can take some time today to find joy in your journey and experience heaven on earth.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Take the small good

Not to rehash, but last week was rough. After the suspected food poisoning, there was fever and then there was... I don't even know what. She cried and cried and cried all night for two nights straight and we have no clue why.
Just ... hanging out on towels waiting to be sick.
This was a welcome sight after all night throwing up. Notice that we had to sleep in there with her... not the best night's sleep I've had in a while.
We are getting our heads above water now and today was actually a good day. And I'm seeing this week as an exercise in focusing on the good more than the bad. Because even though it was a rough week, there were so many wonderful moments.
Clearly, the monkey jumping on the bed is feeling better. 
We had a play date with cute friends at Umlauf Sculpture Gardens. These two sweet girls walked around holding hands. Darling.

We had to do a little furniture shopping that was made a little more fun by an indoor playscape. I love that my hubby will crawl up in there with her. Such a good daddy. 
Mama went to a baby shower on Saturday and Daddy and Emma had a play date at the Children's Museum. Apparently she could have stayed on this thing all day.
After some more shopping we grabbed a quick bite and she was fascinated by this thing. I love how she sticks her tongue out when she concentrates.
Sunday afternoon we went for our weekly mural pictures. I love the cute saying and color on this one, one of my favorites that we've done so far.
Then we went for a walk on the new Boardwalk downtown. It's really nice! It was hot, but it had great views.
Duck ducks! 
Love this little family of mine

Mama Monday: Mandoo recipe (Korean Dumplings)

Every once in a while, I get a craving for Korean food. I got a few while pregnant and that was hard because Austin doesn't do much Korean, especially South Austin.

But when I left for college, my mom helped me write out some of our family's favorite recipes, including my mom's Mandoo recipe. And guys, you know this one's authentic. Straight from South Korea.
If you've never had mandoo before, you're missing out. It's a pan-fried dumpling stuffed with cabbage, veggies, and meat. I think there's a lot of different fillings you can put in, but this is a good basic recipe. It's not difficult, but does take some time to make. Have a partner to help you fold them to make it go faster.

Mandoo (Korean Dumplings)

2 cups cabbage, very finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 pound low-fat ground beef
3 carrots, grated
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 package Mandoo skins

Place chopped cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Set aside and let it reduce for about half an hour. Then use a mesh strainer to rinse the cabbage and squeeze out any extra water.
 Add beef, carrots, green onions and eggs to the cabbage. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
 Set up an assembly station. Lay out the mandoo skins and add a spoonful of the meat mixture to the center.
 Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and wet all the edges of the mandoo skin.
Fold one side across to the other to make a triangle shape. Press and squeeze to seal.

Put a shallow layer of oil (we used canola) to coat the bottom of a frying pan. Heat on low heat. Cook in small batches, about 7-9 at a time. Cook each side until browned and serve immediately.
We recommend making a batch of fried rice (we like a Benihana copy cat recipe) to go with it. Serve with soy sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Freebie Friday: Dream Big, Little One

It's been a while since we've had a Freebie Friday, so today I am serving up another for the nursery print series (in case you missed the "fierce" printable a few weeks ago).

I love this saying and currently have it hanging in Em's nursery. I don't love the version I made before, but I'm digging this one right now so I'll have to swap it out! For you, there's a pink, a blue, and a neutral version to choose from. Happy Friday!

Download (PDF)
Download (PDF)
Download (PDF)