Sunday, June 12, 2011

Raising Readers

I love books.  They're basic to my existence.  Over my lifetime, I've been shaped as much by my reading as I have in by relationships with close family and friends.  That last bit sounded pathetic, but it's true!  And it's always been my dream to see my kids become as freaky and weird their mother is about books.

I've been going on faith until this summer.  I've read books to my munchkins faithfully since they were little, I've signed off reading charts for school, and I've casually strewn age-appropriate reading material all around the house in hopes that they would get hooked.  This summer, I've scheduled plenty of down-time for them, knowing that boredom is the best inducement for reading.  But although they're both reading above grade-level, Ezra and Eliza really haven't shown much interest in reading for fun. 

UNTIL NOW!

Last week they each polished off five big chapter books--Junie B. Jones and Magic Treehouse, and begged for a trip to the library to replenish their stores.  This week, it's Hank the Cowdog and Ramona.  Seems like every time I round a corner, I bump into one of them with his or her nose in a book. 

Of course, I'm still very casual about it.  I don't want to break any magical spells of education going on around here by jumping up and down with giddiness every time Eliza or Ezra finishes a book.  But you can bet I'll be keeping that bookshelf well-stocked this summer.  Just in case anybody gets bored.

Eliza's First Recital

Last night Eliza gave her first-ever piano recital.  She did so well!  She has been practicing hard, and I am so proud of her good sense of tempo and musicality.  She wore the Easter dress that Grandma Dick bought her, and shoes which were too big but which were black.  She remembered to thank the Monnetts and the Baileys for coming, as I'd asked.  And at the after-party we hosted at our house, she had a ball running around with the cousins and uncles, and dancing to the peppy music she's figured out that our digital piano plays automatically.  A few years from now, she'll be playing peppy music of her own.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Peaks and Valleys

The straight and narrow road has peaks and valleys.  Friday night was a valley for me.  Frustrated and overwhelmed at the thought of what seems to be a never-ending supply of work—I cried most of the evening, let TJ take over, and went to bed early.

Fortified by eleven hours’ sleep, and leaving the kids again in TJ’s care, I went to the temple, where I witnessed the wedding of Alisha and Todd.  This was a peak: ever since I was married ten years ago, I have dreamed of being in the temple with her on her special day.  She has been faithful to her baptismal and endowment covenants, and has carefully prepared herself through her own valleys of life.

In the evening, I went to see two kids from the ward baptized.  Katie Groke is in my Primary class and Jackson Mackelprang is a buddy of Ezra’s who lives on our circle.  Their parents surely felt the joy of standing on that peak, watching their precious children promise to follow the Savior and receiving the awesome gift of the Holy Ghost to guide them on their way.

Most days, the work of the kingdom of God is doable and rewarding.  Some days, the load seems crushing.  But once in awhile, we get to view this life from a higher plane.  We get to see the rich rewards that come only after years of preparation.  I dream of seeing my own kids together in the temple with worthy companions.  I dream of my Primary kids doing the same.  And I dream that someday, I’ll be the woman I was destined to become.  I dream that all the valleys and all the peaks will culminate in a softer, more loving, more faithful me.