Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Haikus

Memorable Monday Moments
Halloween Haikus

The other day we were going to have family home evening with some friends. At the last minute they had to cancel because their daughter was sick. However, just because they're so wonderful, they brought over the cookies they had planned for refreshments and suggested we might still want to do the planned activity which was writing Halloween Haikus. So, after a short lesson on how faith helps us keep the 8 Simple Things, we put on our creative caps and got to work writing, and writing, and writing. It was a lot of fun. I was originally going to post a creation a day leading up to Halloween, but we're running out of time, so here are just a few of our favorites. (Thanks to the far-flung siblings who sent in their votes.)

This is the very first one that Princess spontaneously created when I mentioned the idea at the dinner table. She was totally amazed when it showed up at the very top of one of the judge's lists!

Halloween Haiku #37
Bat, bat, bat, bat, bat
Jack-o-lantern pumpkin bat,
Bat, bat, bat, bat, bat.

Our "chapter for the day" was Ezekiel 32. As we read these verses at the start of family night, I realized how wonderfully appropriate they were to a Halloween theme, and that solidified the idea to proceed with the activity. Verses 7 and 22-23 were the inspiration for the next two haiku poems.

Halloween Haiku #327
“Cover the heaven
And make the stars thereof dark.”
The moon has no light.

Halloween Haiku #322,223
Set graves all about
North, south, east, west, up and down
Terror in the land.

Based on the judges' opinions, this would have to be the winning poem. It was near the top of all of the lists. Congratulations Steven!

Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkins sitting still
Soaking the midnight moonshine
In the autumn breeze

But there were plenty more that were winners. Here are a few of them:

Halloween Haiku #1
Halloween’s dark night,
Giving children lots of fright,
Much to dads’ delight.

Halloween Haiku #13
Skeletons, candy,
Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and ghouls.
It is Halloween!

Dad’s Great Costume
The doorbell rings twice.
A father opens the door.
Children flee screaming.

Pumpkin Guts and Glory
Cut the pumpkin top.
Scoop out the seeds and damp slime.
Jack-o-lantern scowls.

25 Years of Trick-or-Treating

A cowboy or dog,
Charizard, turtle or cat,
Knight or astronaut,

Pirate or princess,
Mario, wolf or wizard,
5 headed monster,

Darth Vadar, ninja,
Don’t forget Dad’s googly eyes -
Fun costumes galore.

Finally, we have a reminder that even more holidays are just around the corner!

Halloween Joy
Christmas trees are up,
Children playing in the snow.
Oops . . . wrong holiday!

We hope you enjoyed our little poems. Feel free to write your own haiku and add it to the comments. Enjoy your weekend and have a Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - Second Grade

Another Thursday is here, and it's time for the next installment of Mommy's Piggy Tales. I'm really grateful that I took the time to record some memories when I was in college. So, even though there are only a couple of paragraphs devoted to second grade, it's probably more than I would remember without that memory nudge. Enjoy!
"During my second grade school year, we had a Lamanite girl live with us. Her name was Josephine Colelay and she was an Apache from Arizona.** Although she was ten years old, she was in the third grade. It was really hard for me to have my authority as the oldest taken away sometimes, but it was probably hard for her because I was more responsible.""Mrs. Gray was my second grade teacher, and she was fantastic. I guess I was lucky, but all of my teachers have been terrific. I loved school and enjoyed all of the things I was learning, probably because they came fairly easily."

Here are some more pictures my mom saved. I remember she made our swimming suits. (That's one way to make sure they're modest!) We had swimming lessons at a local high school, and one day I remember going to the ice skating rink afterwards. I thought that was pretty cool. Once or twice a year we would drive up to the Sierras to "play" in the snow, and almost every Sunday evening we'd visit grandparents (both sets lived in our same city).

** Here's some history of the program just in case you're interested. What I personally remember from the experience is the willingness of my parents to follow the prophet. It took hard work and sacrifice to do so. What a great lesson to teach your children!
The Indian Student Placement Services was established among native americans by the LDS Church in part to fulfill the obligation felt by the Church to help care for the Indians in the Americas (2 Ne. 10:18-19). The program places Indian students in Latter-day Saint homes, where they live while attending the public school of the community during the academic year. Another goal of Indian Student Placement Services, in addition to giving Indian youth better opportunities for education, has been to develop leadership and to promote greater understanding between Indians and non-Indians.

The program started in 1947 in Richfield, Utah, when Helen John, a sixteen-year-old daughter of Navajo beet-field workers, requested permission to stay in Richfield to attend school. As an outgrowth of this request, Golden Buchanan of the Sevier Stake presidency and Miles Jensen, with Elder Spencer W. Kimball's support, organized an informal placement program that grew from three students in 1947 to sixty-eight in 1954, with foster homes in four western states.

In July 1954 the program was formalized under Church Social Services and the Southwest Indian Mission. For the next several years the program grew rapidly, peaking at 4,997 in 1972. The policy for participation was that the natural parents had to request the placement; then foster parents (recommended for the program by their bishop) provided free board, room, and clothing for the Indian children to help them have additional educational, spiritual, and sociocultural experiences. The Indian children, had to be at least eight years of age, baptized members of the Church, and in good health. In 1972 the responsibility for recruiting and screening students for the program was given to local priesthood leaders, and the number of students leveled in the mid and late 1970s to around 2,500 a year.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spirit Week

Last week was Homecoming Week at the high school. The kids did their best to follow the tradition of their older brothers and participate in the themed "dress-up" days. These included:
  • Color Blast Day
  • Nerd Day
  • Blast to the Past Day
  • Character Day
  • Black-Out Day

Thank you Jeff for investing in a mullet. It's come in handy on these weeks. Princess decided she wanted neon spattered socks to match the spirit t-shirt, and she had fun creating those. She also had fun setting up and editing a picture for her photography class. I liked the way it turned out, don't you? And isn't it amazing how much Steven looks like Jeff? I guess they're brothers!

Mommy's Piggy Tales - First Grade

Another week has gone by, and it's time to pull out my old autobiography (can you call it that when it only covers 18 years?) and share what happened when I was six. Once Dad was done with law school, it was time to return to California, so that summer we drove across the country. About the only thing I remember was that on July 4th we were in Abilene, Kansas. It was a small, dusty little town. We ate there (see picture above for the restaurant), and since it was my birthday, I got a candle in my dessert and everyone sang to me. We also went through Salt Lake City, and I think we stopped at Temple Square.
When we arrived in San Jose, our house wasn’t ready yet, so we stayed in a cute little hotel room that had a kitchenette. We stayed there for almost a month and it was close enough to IBM so that Dad could travel to work easily. Finally, we were able to move into our home at 2934 Rossmore Lane, in the Evergreen area of San Jose. It was a pretty green house with white trim. There were four bedrooms and two bathrooms with a living room, family room, dining room and kitchen. It was a neat little house. It was on a corner in a cul-de-sac so we had a huge triangular-shaped backyard. And since the whole subdivision used to be an orchard, we had two walnut trees in our backyard. The front yard was empty as well, and it looks like Dad recruited all of us to help plant flowers and bushes, or at least keep them watered.Louise and I shared a bedroom and it was fixed up really nice. It had white bedspreads with pink room accessories. There were plenty of places to play in the house, and one winter a corner of the garage was set aside for a playhouse. We fixed it up really neat with boxes, old rugs, and unused furniture.
September of 1968 I started first grade at Holly Oak Elementary in San Jose. It was only two blocks from home, (we could see the baseball field from our front yard), so I walked. This enabled me to come home for lunch sometimes which I really enjoyed. My first grade teacher was Miss Shimizu and she was special. She helped me to learn at my own pace, not slowing me down to the rest of the class, and that was important to me. I loved school, especially art and reading. During recesses we played on a neat little playground. There was a monkey gym, slide, swings, and bars. I always wore a dress so I had to be careful about what I did. I think that’s an important part of the development of my feminine qualities. Sometimes we did play tag with the boys chasing the girls, but we could always find refuge in the restroom. However, the thing I remember doing most often was walking on the 2x6’s set upright to keep the tanbark in the play area. We’d have contests to see who could stay on the longest without touching the ground. Halloween 1968 - I'm guessing I was a princess of some sort, and I definitely used my mom's lipstick! Here's a picture of me in a new nightgown my mom made for me. My little brother Scott is in the background. Although the incident probably didn't happen this day, this picture reminds me of the one spanking I received. I was about six or seven and I was mad at my mom for something. I picked up a toy drum (I was standing on that step) and hurled it into the room, narrowly missing hitting Scott, even though I wasn't trying to aim it at him. Mom spanked me and sent me to my room. I thoroughly deserved it. What has really stuck with me through all the years, though, is that my mom came into my room just a few minutes later and apologized for punishing me. What an example of true humility! And I guess I learned my lesson, because I don't recall it ever happening again.

I'm linking up at Mommy's Piggy Tales. Feel free to stop by and browse, or add your own story!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WFMW - Capes

One of the things that helps keep me sane, particularly when it comes time to choose a costume for Halloween or Spirit Week, is to have a costume box. And one of the best items to have in the box is a cape. They're actually quite simple to make. As I recall, I took a square of fabric, rounded the corners (but that's not necessary), hemmed it so it wouldn't unravel, and attached either ribbon ties or a button closure. Little kids love running around as Superman, or Superninja, or Super anything. In the collage below, there's a cape-wearing wizard, ninja turtle, Darth Vadar and a couple of priates. One year we did spend a bit more time and made a reversible cape with a stiffened collar, but even that wasn't terribly difficult. Here's a pattern I found today that you can try if you wish. Keeping them around for years makes instant costumes stress-free. A few years ago the black cape from the bin was combined with a magician's hat for an effortless costume.
So, having a costume bin with several capes to choose from works for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - Kindergarten

Sorry I'm late; I was out of the house all day yesterday, and a wireless laptop isn't on our list of "things we own." Anyway, last week I dug out the personal history I wrote when I was in college. I think I've matured a bit since then :) However, I'm glad I wrote it then, because that makes this challenge a lot easier to complete, and I'm remembering lots of things I'd forgotten. But isn't that the whole purpose for recording our youth? Now you can all remember too!

Because I was so young, I don't remember much of my preschool years. I do know that my sister was born 13 months after me. What a tremendous blessing that's been all my life! We lived in San Jose, California and I took frequent walks with my mom to the grocery store and donut shop. We also lived close to our cousins and had fun with them often.
When I was four, my baby brother was born. Dad started law school in Washington D.C. at the same time. He flew out there and got settled in an apartment, flew back home for the birth, and then returned to school. We didn't join him for a couple of months, but when we did it was a memorable occasion. My sister and I had new white coats. Dad sent us corsages to wear. The baby rode in a bassinet attached to the seat in front of us on the plane. We had a great reunion, and must have been all settled before Christmas."I loved Maryland. We went sightseeing to Mount Vernon and the Potomac River and other places. We lived in a little apartment with two bedrooms and a den. All of the kids were in the master bedroom and we had the neatest closet! It was a walk-in with a light in the middle and a shoe ledge all the way around. We had loads of fun playing in there."
"Our apartment complex had a playground and swimming pool and I learned how to float there. During the winter when it snowed, we sledded down the hill in front of the apartment and built snowmen. It was really beautiful there. Mom really loved the dogwood trees that were all over the place."
"It was in Maryland that I gave my first talk in Sunday School. I also learned how to read some words and then I started kindergarten. The school was really close, just a block away, but it was on a highway so I rode the bus. I remember missing the bus twice. Once was on the way home, so I just got off at the next stop, and had to walk a longer way through the apartment complex. The other time was in the morning. I think I was hysterical. Anyway, it was winter and the path was muddy so Dad carried me on his shoulders. That was a special experience for me."

"My classroom was really neat. There were a lot of playthings inside because of the harsher winters. And every morning we went to the cafeteria for milk and graham crackers. When we were able to go outside we played “Red Rover” and “Red Light, Green Light.” I had a lot of friends but the only one I remember was Suzy Fox, and she was a friend at church, not school."

"Our family had some fun times those two years. Louise and I gave Family Home Evening lessons sometimes and we made cassette tapes to send to our grandparents. We also went with Mom to the store and to do the laundry. At this time we were taught to make our beds and help around the house. This will always be invaluable information."

"Dad finally graduated, and that was a special day. We all got our pictures taken with him, and Scott even got to wear his cap. Since we no longer had a good excuse to stay, we returned to our family in San Jose."
Here are a few more memories from those years in Maryland:
  • Accepting the bishop's challenge to live off our food storage for a month or so. I remember the wheat cans formed the supports for my dad's bookshelves. Being a law student, he had a few books!
  • Scott being in charge of the keys! If he didn't get to open the car or apartment door, he had a fit. Because he was only two, sometimes that took a while. I remember not liking waiting in the cold for that to happen. (And maybe he didn't really throw fits, but it was definitely HIS job.)
  • Taking ballet lessons. Mom tried finding a new ballet school when we returned to California, but couldn't, instead we started taking piano lessons. It turns out that was a very wise decision.
  • My very first hospital visit. I was born with a hemangioma (strawberry birthmark) on my stomach and the doctor's suggested it be removed before I started school and was around other children so it wouldn't accidently get injured. I stayed in the hospital overnight, got new coloring books and crayons, and a 2" scar on my belly which my dad said would be a great incentive to dress modestly for the rest of my life.

P.S. I'm linking up to Mommy's Piggy Tales today. Feel free to join us!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mommy's Piggy Tales - The Beginning

Earlier this year I came across a blog that I found quite intriguing - Mommy's Piggy Tales. Recording your youth sounds like a wonderful project! Unfortunately, at the time there was no way I'd be able to participate. (If you recall, we had kind of a busy summer.) There's another session starting today, and I thought I'd be able to participate this time around. Maybe I'm still trying to do too much, but I'm going to give it a try. I've wanted to organize the box of momentos in my closet for a long time, and this should provide the motivation. Feel free to join me!
The first assignment is to share your birth story and how you got your name. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So, we'll start with the pictures. Here's the one taken in the hospital.I wasn't there to know how my name was chosen. I do know that before I was born, I was called "Knut" with a hard "K". (Maybe that's where my middle name came from.) "Rebecca" came from my great-grandmother, Florence Rebecca Wilson.
And I know I have a gorgeous mother. This is the official "I have a one-week old baby" picture.
Here I am at 4 months old. (You know, maybe there is a family resemblance between me and the newest member of our family.)
My first Christmas.
Sometime in my first year. Looks like I found the toilet paper and was having a lot of fun!
For the story part, this week I'm just going to share parts from the letter my dad wrote my grandparents. They were serving a mission in Australia at the time.

4 July 1962
San Jose, Calif.

Dear Mother and Father:

This morning at 8:55 AM, Judi gave birth to our first child and your first granddaughter. She is 20" long, weighs 7 pound 10 ounces. She has golden hair and very fair skin - not at all red. A really beautiful little girl.

Judi's folks are really elated. Mom saw her this afternoon. She and I are the only ones allowed to see Judi, so she'll go in the afternoons and I'll go in the evening. Mother White offered to pay for a phone call to you, but I had already sent the telegram and you should have had the news by then, so we decided not to. It was a very generous offer.

We will name her Rebecca Kay Beckstrand. I feel very confident that she will honor your name. It thrills and humbles me to know she is your grandchild and will enjoy the privileges and responsibility of carrying the Beckstrand name.

If she is to gain eternal life, it will be with a bearer of the priesthood who has magnified his calling. My task becomes to prepare her for such an association. I pray that God will make me equal to this responsibility, and that Judi and I will be worthy of the trust which our Heavenly Father has given us.

What a glorious day!
Love, Shelley

I also have copies of a couple letters my mom wrote, but I think I'll save those for another time. This is enough for now. Have a wonderful, glorious day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Conference Jeopardy

Because the kids were going to do Conference Jeopardy at seminary, I thought we could get away with not doing it for family night. Apparently, however, it's a tradition! This time Dad was the moderator and it was a "closed note" activity. And as usual it was a lot of fun, and we learned something, too! If you want to try it yourself, you can find our questions and answers here. (Note that question #1 was the 100 point question, etc.) Sorry, but you'll have to come up with your own point cards and category labels. And if you want to review before you play, you can find the General Conference talks here. We love general conference weekend!