Monday, April 8, 2013

Keepin' It Real, Conference Edition--and a Winner!

I had high hopes for my family's General Conference experience.  Who am I kidding?  I have high hopes every time Conference comes around that this will be the time that we all sit reverently together, basking in the glow from the screen and from the messages we hear.

  • I made custom notebooks with fun pages designed to keep them focused on the messages.
  • I cleaned the family room so there would be space for all of us to fit without clutter taking up room.
  • I organized all the crayons and pencils and markers.
  • I bought treats as an occasional distraction.
  • I got up early Sunday morning, restraightened the family room and reorganized the crayons and pencils and markers.
  • I made cinnamon rolls for Sunday breakfast.

And even after all of this, my hopes for a perfect, calm, edifying Conference weekend were dashed beneath arguments, teasing, sleeping, tantrums, and talking.  By the time President Monson got up to speak on Sunday morning, all FIVE of the kids were in isolation or timeout of some kind, Brad was mad, and I was on the verge of tears.  Why does it have to be like this?

Oh yeah.  I know why.  I'm trying to corral my extremely active, extremely noisy children into the same room for eight hours of quiet television viewing.  I'm trying to encourage them to listen and learn and take notes. I can lead them to the water but I cannot make them drink. I'm trying to share my love for General Conference with them and I expect them to love it the way I love it, but they are still young and inexperienced.

I realized this morning that I have unrealistic expectations of what this weekend should be like.  In my obsessive desire to hear every word, I missed a few important lessons I needed to learn right in my own home:  I had five of my kiddos with me for the entire weekend.  We had a great breakfast together.  Most of the tickling and teasing and distraction came from siblings enjoying each other.  They did take notes.  They did listen.  And I was still able to listen and take notes of my own.

This quote from Jeffrey R. Holland came flooding back to my mind yesterday morning:
"So if you are trying to do the best you can—if, for example, you keep trying to hold family home evening in spite of the bedlam that sometimes reigns in a houseful of little bedlamites—then give yourself high marks."

We're just a bunch of bedlamites, no question. It's not about silence in our family.  It never has been, and I wonder if it ever will. I probably will never achieve the peaceful, quiet, reflective General Conference weekend I envision while my kids are still young.  That's okay.  They will grow up knowing that Conference is important to me and hopefully it will always be important to them as well.

My blog friend Tauna was able to attend a session of conference in Salt Lake this weekend with many of her kids--experiencing what I only dream.

Lucky for her, she's the winner of my $50 Target gift card! Congratulations, Tauna!

Thanks for all of your comments on Friday, and thanks for helping me surpass my 300-follower goal.  I was amazed to hear from so many of you--Elodie in Austria, Pondside in BC, Kerri in PA--who knew when I began this blog that I'd reach not only the corners of country, but around the world as well.  Thank you for being my friends (and many of you--family!!).  Thanks for reading and being part of my life.


  1. How true - we often forget to celebrate what we do have when it falls short of our perfect vision!

    I missed the deadline to comment on your last post. I check in daily from Vancouver, Canada. I enjoy all the Denton family antics. I remember when the Tucker countdown clock first started. :)

  2. Your comments brought up so many memories, both good and painful, in raising my 8. When they were all at home they ranged from a wee babe to about 15 years old, and it was chaotic, to say the least. I had the luxury of staying home with my kids and all but one was home schooled at one time or another, which only brought us closer (and when they went back to school they tested highest in their classes!). But there were a couple of things we stood on, one was attempting to be goo role models for our kids, they learn so much from watching their parents, and we also, while we did emphasize the importance, we tried to never push them to engage in spiritual activities that they were reluctant to do, we encouraged them, but Jeff always had a saying when they were acting their worst, and that was you can put your thumb on a watermelon seed and hold it steady and it will stay put, but if you pushed the seed too hard it would squirt one way or the other, and you never knew which way it would go. You do such a remarkable job in raising your kids, you keep them steady. It's the most difficult job around, but we have a promise that if we bring them up correctly, they will return. They're watching and learning from you, so much more than you think. You're such a great mom which means your kids have a strong, loving figure to model their lives and beliefs after. Keep it up, you're doing great!

  3. Ok. You have me laughing. Sorry. I shouldn't be because your high hopes shouldn't be dashed.
    But when you do raise Bedlamites......

    You're right, they were listening and they did realize that this is an important time.

    Wow!!! Thanks for the gift card!!!! You're awesome.

  4. I have found, with my five, that keeping hands busy is key. There's no talking aloud at all, but they color, work puzzles and do little crafty things. They all have a "conference packet" and if an Apostle is speaking, they have to take a couple of notes. When the Prophet speaks theyisr stop what they're doing and listen. After years of fighting, I found that the Spirit is strongest when we're not. (fighting, that is) They feel the Spirit, and actually hear more than you would think. Busy hands, quiet mouths. That's what works for us! (And we are NOT a quiet family either)

  5. Hubby says I sounded kind of rude.... PLEASE know that there is still fighting, touching, poking and irritating here. :) Like Elder Holland says, and I've heard Elder Bednar say it, too, as long as we're steady and consistent, they' get it. You're amazing, that's why we all read your blog. :)

  6. Our house was never quiet either, and I liked it that way!

    Congrats to Tauna!!


  7. I don't think we EVER had a peaceful conference session when small children were involved. It's the nature of the beast. It was still a good day together, though. But I think you'll find they're taking in more than you think they are. And kudos to you for all you're doing!

  8. I like this post. It's quite unusual and innovative. Writer might be really gorgeous. Someone could easily claim that he is a genius. |

  9. After read the article i have come to you to know the handy discussion as well. Because i will come to you to know the wonderful article. Thanks a lot mate. |

  10. I really think that one of the best articles is this one. It has everything. I needed this information to prove wrong my teacher. I knew this was happening. But my teacher did not agree with me. Now, he'll know I was right! Thank you! |