Sunday, December 26, 2010

2011 Primary Program

Goal: To use the scriptures for every song and testify more, use the scriptures as much as possible to teach the children that what we learn in our songs is what is found in the scriptures.

After much discusion with the Primary Presidency in our ward and taking into consideration the council given us from the Stake (and were directed that this was from the General Board) that our optional songs should not be from the Hymn book but from the Primary Songbook. Here are the songs we have chosen for 2011 (along with being assigned).

Jan: "If I Listen With My heart" refere to the 2011 Primary Program manual, "I know that the Scriptures are true"
Feb:  "I will Follow God's Plan" CSB pg164
Mar:  "Stand for the Right" CSB pg 159
April:  our choice "I'm trying to be like Jesus" CSB pg 78
May: "Praise to the Man" Hymn 27
June: our choices we are doing two songs-
 "4th Article of Faith" CSB pg 124
"Scripture Power"  Found in the Oct 1987 Friend
July: "I love to See the Temple" CSB pg 95
Aug: "The Lord Game me a Temple" pg 153

Thoughts: Our choice to do "Scripture Power" came about a day where a young man in SR while doing our Thanks-giving activity in Singing Time, choice that he was thankful for scriptures and wanted to sing "Scripture Power". The pianist actually had a copy and we sang it. For a song that came out over 20 years ago I was amazed at how many of the children knew it and were singing with such enthusiastic. I was already out of Primary when this song came out and I've never actually learned it. The song is so old, yet still so loved by the children. Can you think of a song that is the same but not in the hymn book or Primary Songbook? I have been told that "To Bring the World His Truth" (Army of Heleman song, CSB 172) was not originally in the CSB but was later added because it was so loved. I don't know by my own knowledge if that is true but that is what I have been told. 
After singing time that day I went in the back and talking to the Primary President and 1st Councilor I told them that while singing I had a thought that maybe this should be our 'our choice' song. They both agreed and said that they had had the same impression while the children where singing that song. The subject of this year is "I Know that the Scriptures are True" to know that they are true you must have a testimony that the scriptures posses a power that can be used in your life. "Scripture Power" teaches them that and stays with them. 
I know doing an "extra" song is hard. It makes learning all your songs even harder. But I would like to invite you to do "Scripture Power" with your Primary this year. To infuse in a new generation of children that the scriptures have power that can be used in your life. Even if you chose not to do it for your program, teach it to them as just a song to learn this year.

last note- We do a number of musical numbers by small groups of children in our program. This year we are thinking that we are going to use songs that are about people in the scriptures ie: "Follow the Prophet", "Nephi's Courage", "Tell me the Stories of  Jesus", "Samuel tells of Baby Jesus", "Book of Mormon Stories", "A Young Man Prepared", there are more and we don't know which ones we are going to do, but we feel that there is teaching in having the children relate to the people in the scriptures to learn about how they can use the scriptures in their lives and have testimonies of their truth.
Thanks for stopping by, I'd love to hear thoughts about your plans for 2011, what songs you've chosen and why.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas 
    Life at our House is going well. 2010 has been good to us. Cory is still at his job and I'm is still the Primary Chorister, and it was a blessed day when Alistair started going to nursery. We went on our much anticipated Mediterranean Cruise, with Cory’s parents, brother and cousin, while Al got Grandma time with Grandma Sowards. We had a fantastic trip, we went to Rome, Egypt, Istanbul, Kusadasi Turkey, Athens, and Naples. It was the trip of a lifetime. We loved all 2 ½ weeks of it.
We pray that your families are doing well and that you can see the blessings of the Lord on your households. We are grateful for the friendships and the love that we share with each one of you.
Love and Happy New Years

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ward Party and Seeing Santa

 Our ward party was last week. There was a short program first, then was dinner, then came Santa Clause. Al didn't handle the wait for dinner very well. I should have though about that before leaving and have fed him, but I'm just not a mother mode like that.
And as with every child their first time sitting on Santa's lap. Oh Fun.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Trimming Our Tree

Last Monday night we decorated our tree for FHE.

 Al kept trying to put ornaments on the tree
 and then take them back off again.
 Helping daddy.
 Look mama the tree is done.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Singing Time Christmas Pageant

A couple years ago, the Sunday before Christmas, we used the song "The Nativity Song" CSB page 52.  We had a combined Sharing and Singing time. We did all the verses and had children come up and dress up as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, everything in the song. We made a stable out of a sheep with across the top with a poll on each side. It worked really well in SR primary, but the song was hard for the JR primary and we never got to finish due to time.  If you choose to do this I would suggest having a copy of the words given to the teachers and maybe the oldest children who can read music.
What are we doing this year?
We are going to do another combined Singing and Sharing Time. But we are going to do it more like a Christmas Pageant. Instead of using "The Nativity Song" we are going to have a different song either from the Children's Songbook or from the Hymn book. We are going to talk about each character, read the scripture that talks about them, and then sing a song about them.
As follows:
Mary- Mother of Jesus, Luke 1: 27-31: The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she had been chosen, blessed, to be the Mother of her Savior, Jesus (find what verses you actually want to read, maybe have the children act it out). Luke 2:19 "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart"  Song: "Mary's Lullaby" CSB pg 44
Joseph- Husband of Mary, Luke 2: 1-4: Joseph had to be taxed and go to Bethlehem because that is where his ancestors were from. He had to take Mary with him since she was his wife. Luke 2:7 : Joseph was unable to find an Inn for them to stay in because Bethlehem was too busy, but he was able to find a stable/barn for them to stay in. Song: "When Joseph Went to Bethlehem" CSB pg 38. 
Baby Jesus- Luke 2: 11-12, 16: Not only was Mary told by an angel that her baby was the Son of God, but Angels testified of this to the Shepherds. Jesus is the Son of God, Our Savior and Redeemer. He started this journey on Earth just as every one of us did, being born to earthly parents. He too had to learn and grow to be prepared for his mission on this Earth. Song: "Away in a Manger" CSB pg 42.
Stable- Luke 2:7, There are many different types of stables. We don't know what type Jesus was born in, it was possibly a cave that was being used as a barn. But it was a barn with animals and they used a Manger, or the animals feed troff as a crib. Song: "Once Within a Lowly Stable" CSB 41.
Shepherds- Luke 2: 8-17, Why the Shepherds? They were old in the fields and on the hills round about the city working and watching their sheep. The angels appeared to them, testified of Christ, told them where to find the Baby, and then filled the sky with singing praising God. They shepherds went, they saw, and they then testified of all they had seen and heard. Song: "Stars Were Gleaming" CSB pg 37, "Shepherd's Carol" CSB pg 40
Angels- Luke 1: 28, An Angel came to Mary bring her the news that she was to be the Mother of the Son of God; Matt 1:20, An angel appeared to Joseph to testify to him of the Baby that Mary carried; Luke 2: 8- 14, Angels appeared unto the Shepherds testifying of Christ and Singing praises to God. Song: "Far Far Away" Hymn 212, "Angels we have Heard on High" Hymn 203, "Stars Were Gleaming" CSB pg 37.
Wise Men- Matt 2: 1-12, Where the wise men were from we do not know. What we do know is they came from the east and knew the prophecy of the new star, they were watching was waiting for it to be fulfilled. What made them wise? -they were kings, rulers in their own lands, but more importantly they were wise because they knew of Christ and did whatever was necessary to follow the star to seek their God. "With Wondering Awe" Hymn 210, "The Nativity Song" vrs 4 CSB pg 52-53.
Star-bMatt 2: 10 "When They saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy"; Helaman 2: 5, in the Book of Mormon, Samuel the Lamanite Prophet prophesied that a new star would appear as a sign that Jesus had been born. Song: "There was Starlight on the Hillside" CSB pg 40, "With Wondering Awe" Hymn 210, "Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus" CSB pg 36.
To close- Sing "He Sent His Son" CSB pg 34, Testify of Christ's birth and his role in the Plan of Salvation. Sing: "Silent Night" Hymn 201, or any other Christmas Song that will help bring in the Spirit. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nativity For Singing Time

A friend of mine gave me this link these printable Nativity characters are awesome.

Printable Nativity Characters, use toliet paper rolls to make them stand. I'm going to use them tomorrow, I'll have a song placed on each or refer to my Christmas pageant lesson, this would work for this. Great thing about this is you don't need to risk your nice Nativity set being broken taking it to church. 

Lights Parade Evening activity

 Last Saturday was the lights parade. We decided to make an evening of it. We went to dinner at the Pizza Hut Bistro then set ourselves up on the street. Half the town was out to see the parade.That's not quite right. 1/3 was watching the parade, 1/3 was in the parade, and the last 1/3 of the town was at home not bothering with it.
It reminds me of two different memories:
1-  Growing up we'd sometimes go to Colorado for the 24th Celebration (24th of July, Pioneer day, for those of you that aren't LDS it is the day set aside to celebrate the Mormon Pioneers arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. In the San Luis Valley, where my dad's family is all from, its a huge deal, the whole town comes out for the celebration. Having the whole town out on the street to watch the parade reminded me of everyone being out to see the parade in Colorado.
2- It reminded me of being on my mission, one year during the holiday seasons, the ward missionaries in the Niceville ward made a float to enter in the local parades. As the missionaries in the area, we walked in the parade with the float.  It was so much fun.

I didn't know if Al was old enough to enjoy the parade but we were going to try and see. As we sat and waited for the parade to start Al was super unhappy. But as soon as the parade was in full bloom he was riveted! All the way until the moment it had had enough excitement and fell asleep in daddy's arms. I'm glad we went.

Friday, December 10, 2010

ASL for Hymn 210 With Wondering Awe

Our primary is learning Hymn 210 "With Wondering Awe" for this Christmas. I taught it in one Sunday, but JR and SR primaries took to it right away. In fact, I taught it in a shortened primary time for JR and only used half of my SR singing time to teach it. We are doing it for our Activity for Christmas Caroling to the Extended Care Center in Town and for their parents as part of the Ward party's Christmas program.
Hope you enjoy.

ASL Hymn #212 Far Far Away (chorus)

 I did this with my Primary children and posted a video of it back in 2008, it is still one of their favorites. Around Thanksgiving they started asking me if we were going to do it again. "Of course we are, as it gets closer to Christmas".
We've already done it a few times.
I redid the video, the last one I never put on YouTube and I was also pregnant when I did the last one and I can see it in the video. The fact that our computer died and I lost the original file was a good excuse to re-film.

Lately I've noticed

Lately I've noticed a change in my DVD buying habits. DVDs became big just before I left on my mission, when I got home from my mission I bought my first DVD player and started buying DVDs. They were my favorite movies and TV series. I loved owned TV series seasons DVDs. I had a decent collection of Disney movies, one because I enjoy watching Disney movies, but more because I hoped that someday I would get married and start having children who eventually would love to watch Disney movies. I did get married eventually (after being single for a very long time and spending a lot of money on an awesome DVD collection).  Now that my son is starting to be interested in watching movies I'm grateful for the Disney collection we own. 
So here is the noticeable change in my DVD purchase. In the above photo is almost of all the DVDs I've about in the past year. Do you notice a theme? First I will point out that this is nothing compared to how many DVDs I'd buy in a year as a single adult. Second, not one was purchased for me and my selfish purposed. They are all DVDs I purchased for my son to watch. Granted he may like to watch Barney more than Curious George. But I'd rather watch Curious George over Barney, I'm still selfish in that way. And Al does enjoy Curious George too. So since having children I've traded buy Veronica Mars, Perry Mason, Psych, and obscure British series for Curious George and Thomas the Train. 
LOL the way our children change our lives.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our World Has Changed...

So this is small but it is a big thing to us.
This morning my husband and are getting dressed for the day. Its just a couple minutes after 6am. There is a soft little knock on the bedroom door. My husband keeps getting dressed and ignores it, even though he is standing right next to the door tucking in his shirt. Later he said that he was sure he hadn't actually heard a knock.
I opened the door. Standing there in his sleeper pjs and a toy from the family room in his arms is our 19 month old so Al. Once the door is open he walks right in and goes to Daddy.
The reason this is significant is he has only been sleeping in the toddler bed for a little amount of time. But  so far he hasn't been getting off the bed. So now he knows he can get off the bed, and secondly it means he has figured out how to open the door. 
The next thing we need to figure out is, what are we going to do about it? Baby door locks? another baby gate? We don't want him wondering around the house in the middle of the night, but we don't want to lock him in his room at night. Tough questions. One thing is certain, our world has changed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coming Home

We were in transit for about 26 hours total from the time of leaving the ship to arriving at my parents home in Phoenix. It was harsh. Then when we arrived in Phoenix I couldn't wait to see my son. I hurried out of the terminal to see him and would he come to me- no. He wouldn't come to me, wouldn't let him hug him or hold him. He went right to daddy. Hugged daddy and wouldn't let go. This lasted a little over an hour. My mom suggested that maybe its because I never leave Al for more than a couple hours at a time, While my husband leaves him everyday for hours at a time. He was more mad at me for leaving him for so long. The next few weeks our little guy has been more clingy but my friends with sons around the same age say their sons have all been really clingy lately too. So not only is it a phase its I traumatized my son by leaving him for 2 1/2  weeks. Well everything is getting back to normal. I am still living on vacation in my head. It was a long trip. But I enjoyed myself so much that I wish it was longer. Although I was happy to come home to my

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Port: Naples (Pompeii)

Going to Pompeii was my number one place on my list! I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Pompeii. I have always been so interested in it. As a child I wanted to read everything I could get my hands on about Pompeii. I would have been devastated if we had ended up missing this port like we did Khios. 

Mt.Vesuvius is a dormant volcano in constant monitoring

This was the only shore excursion that we did not do with our the rest of our group. They decided that since we disembarked in the morning that they were only going to go to Pompeii and then back to the ship to pack. My husband's choice was to hike Mount Vesuvius. He told me I could come with him or go with his parents. I was willing to hike. Hiking isn't my favorite thing but I can do it and I did it. It kicked my rear-end though, but I went up and came back down. I was freezing, but did it.
Pompeii was cool. There was so much of it preserved. It made me wish we had also made it to the Naples Archaeological museum also. That's where all the best frescoes, statues, and artifacts. I was a bit disappointed. I don't know if it was just a tour guide and where she took us in the city, but I didn't see what I wanted to see. That's all I'm going to say on the matter.
We were rushed through the tour and then rushed to the bus and back to the ship. We made it to the ship on time. But a number of tours didn't and the ship left port over an hour late.
One last thing. Mt Vesuvius use to be one Large mountain. Now it is two mountains that are connected peeks. While we were on Vesuvius and our Volcanologist guide was explaining this to us, I had a hard time
envisioning this and understanding it. But when were in Pompeii and looking at Vesuvius from a distance, it is so obvious that you are looking at a huge mountain that literally "blew its top" off. The last time Vesuvius had an eruption was in the 40's (want to say 1944). It is considered a dormant volcano. There are evacuation plans in place and constant monitoring of the volcano's under surface activities.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Port: Athens

On Acropolis overlooking the Temple of Zeus and the first modern Olympic stadium
Temple of Athena under Acropolis Museum
I was looking forward to Athens. With the unrest and riots in Athens we were worried that this port would be canceled. We did the shore excursion called "Athens on your own". The plan of this excursion is they drop us off in the middle of the city and then tell us to be back to 4:00 because the bus will be there at 4:15 we get on the bus and we'll leave. If you aren't back by that time, the bus will leave you. We decided to do this one so that we would have time to do all the things we want in the time.
We had a goal to go to the Acropolis and Acropolis museum, the National Archaeological museum in Athens, then to the Temple of Zeus ruins.We did it all but the Temple of Zeus, but we could see the ruins below while on the Acropolis.
The Acropolis Museum was super cool. Its opened last October (2009) and built on the active archaeological museum of the Temple of Athena/Nike. The floors are clear so you can look down and watch the active site. Also they have taken all the plasters of all the frescoes and statues, put the plasters on the Acropolis and the originals are in the museum.  Also any frescoes or statues that are in the British Museum or the Berlin Museum  there are plasters of them in the Acropolis Museum. Seeing everything at eye level was very cool. Also I think its cool that these artworks are now protected in environmental controlled rooms but without depriving us of seeing them where they belong.
I also enjoyed see the ongoing restoration project of the Parthenon. I wanted a documentary on it before going and to see the work up close (or at least as close as I could get) was a big deal for me. I enjoyed have the opportunity to explain the process to my fellow travelers too. For your information, the process is this, they remove each damaged piece one by one. A plaster cast is created of the missing section. Then a laser cuts the marble to be an exact replica of the plaster cast. The copy is then fused to the original marble piece and they are replaced onto the temple. Since the new marble is so much more white and shinny, its obvious what has been replaced and what is old.
To reach the archaeological museum we walked through one of the main streets. It was crowed and noisy and just like any big city street. The National Archaeological museum wasn't much of a disappointment. It had less of the big stuff in it, but it had a lot of wonderful things to see. I'm grateful we were able to go. There were many of the big famous statues there.
Outside the museum there is a cafe/restaurant. I believe its considered the Museum's cafe. On their menu they had a burger called the "Royal Castle" Burger, the description read "no comment". This was so intriguing to my husband and his brother that they just had to order it. I didn't catch everything that was on it, but it was like a gyro on a bun. Yummy too.

When done at the museum we took Athens' awesome subway system back to the Plaka to rendezvous with our group. We had some gelato while waiting and when the bus came we went back to the ship exhausted. This was the evening we went and sat in the hot tub to sooth our sore legs and feet.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Port: Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey

Categorized stones
Brent and Brenda
This port was our biggest surprise. We had not chose this cruise because it stopped in Kusadasi, but was one of our favorite ports. Kusadasi is the port near the ancient city of Ephesus, the one of the Bible fame. But Ephesus was more than just the city that Paul preached to and wrote to the Ephesians. It was a huge important Greek and then Roman port city. It then over time it was ransacked,destroyed by earthquake, pillage, left abandoned, and then sediment covered it up. 

Then rediscovered in 1860's. It is estimated that even today only 20% of Ephesus has been excavated. As the site has been excavated they categorized everything, laid it out, and as they find pieces to put together they reconstructed what it looked like. Its fascinating. I was so in heaven. There is even a section that is an active Archeological site. It reminded me about being back in Elementary school I wanted to be an Archeologist and go out on digs. It was just awesome. We both enjoyed walking around the ruins. So beautiful- so awesome.
cats were everywhere, sidewalks were 

reconstructed archway

my husband in the fou

Justin with Theater 

Library at Ephesus
forum walk at Ephesus
The other thing we did in Kusadasi was go to the 'Virgin Mary House'. Its an old house that's foundation dates to the time that Mary could have been living in Ephesus. John was given the charge by the Jesus while on the cross to care for his mother, Mary, until the end of her days. John moved to Ephesus and lived there for a long time. If Mary was still alive at that point he would have brought her with him to Ephesus. This house is now a small chapel and is recognized by the Catholic church as the sacred site where the Virgin Mary lived out her days. Now I don't know if it was her home or not. I admit I'm skeptical, but there is a point at which places that are treated with a certain level of respect and sacredness have a sacred feeling. There was that sort of feeling there. I was grateful for the experience. 
Virgin Mary House
In Kusadasi was the only port that I bought a souvenir for myself. I bought a leather purse at one of the shops in the bazaar. Its nothing special, but its a purse that fits what I've been looking for for a while now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Port: Istanbul

It was Sunday in Istanbul. We thought that visiting these historical Mosques and Churches would make a great Sunday activity. The only down side to that was Turkey has their "day off" on Sunday to be the same of the western world. So all the stores were closed. More stores were closed on this Sunday than you find in the States, even in Utah or Florida on Sunday. What does that say that a mainly Muslim country (and big city too) is honoring the Sabbath than Our Country that is founded by Christians on Christian values and where apx 75% of Americans consider themselves Christian. That is a sad commentary on our religious values in this country that a Muslim country, even inadvertently, honors the Sabbath more than we do.
Putting that aside, we had chosen the shore excursion: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Bosporus Lunch Cruise. We started our excursion by being dropped off at the site of the ancient Hippodrome, a place for chariot races under the Byzantine Empire.  There really isn't much to see there, but some obelisks. From there we went to the Blue Mosque. It was impressive inside, but I was actually more impressed with the exterior than the interior. Everything I had read said that they require women to ware a head scarf to enter, but they didn't. So I don't know why that was. They had them there available, but didn't require them.

We then walked across a park area to the Hagia Sophia. This place is huge. From a distance it didn't look as large as it was. I was taken back a little by that. It is a massive building all in total. I don't know if it was just that my sister is a Mid-evil History Major and talked it up so much that I was more interested in it, or the art History books I read before leaving, or that they have been removing some of the Muslim artwork uncovering the Byzantine Christian artwork from the days it was a Christian Church, exposing artwork that was lost to the world for centuries. Brief history of the Hagia Sophia. The building that stands there now is the 3rd church building to be on that site. The first two met fates of fire. It was a Christian church for all 3 of those churches. When the Ottomans took over, the church was converted into a Mosque. All the iconic Christian art was covered up with plaster and decorated with Muslim artwork.
 In the 1935, it was converted from a Mosque into a Historical Museum. Since then, there have been efforts to remove the plaster in some places to restore the art underneath. There are plans to leave some of everything visible so that visitors can see what it has been. So here is my concern, if removing the plaster destroys the Muslim artwork that is also historical a part of the meeting, then should they be removing. I don't know how they are removing, but to destroy it is a shame. Along the same lines, how do they know that the mosaic they are uncovering is the mosaics most worthy of being uncovered? These are all questions that I have not received answers to. So the mosaics they have uncovered are beautiful. I loved seeing them. But I couldn't help but wonder about the questions I've posed. 
When we were done visiting the Hagia Sophia we went on our Bosporus river cruise and lunch. Up one side and down the other. We thought that this would be the best way to get to see the bulk of the city. So our lunch. I did not know that eggplant was such a huge part of Mediterranean cooking. I knew they used it more than our cooking but I had no idea that it was used so much. It was everywhere in the food. The reason this is important is because I'm allergic to eggplant. I know its an odd food to be allergic to but its the only food I'm allergic to. In Italy it was on the pizzas, on our lunch cruise on the Bosporus it was in everything, and there was no alternative. So upon being informed the chef has to make a completely separate meal for me. All in all I had to get use to asking everyone each time I got food, "Does this have eggplant in it, I am allergic to eggplant." I had learned to say eggplant in Italian, I should have learned to say it in Turkish, Arabic, and Greek. Oh well, I lived, and its not like eggplant could kill me, it just causes me to break out in hives.
Lastly we went to the Topkapi Palace. Where the Ottoman Sultans lived. In truth I didn't see much there. We only went to a few places within. They are very grand.

That raps up Istanbul. Impressions- it was very clean and orderly (most clean and orderly of all the places we visited), it is a shinning example of how western cultures and middle eastern cultures can live cohesively. I was most impressed with it as a whole than anyone one place (but the Hagia Sophia is a close 2nd). I would love to visit Turkey again someday.