Yesterday we had stake conference. We had a visiting general authority because there was a change in the stake presidency. It was a big deal. There were lots of people there. Elder M. Russell Ballard gave the concluding talk.
To be honest I don't remember a lot of his talk because at that point Spencer was beginning to break down. Two hours of sitting still combined with the day light savings time change meant he was also hungry and tired. I think he handled everything really well considering the situation. What I did catch from the talk was that parents need to work on not raising their voices at their children. Easier said than done and something I'm already working on. Very quickly after that comment he addressed the children. I poked Evelyn and said he's talking to you now. Her ears perked up. He said children need to respect and obey their parents without arguing. (I wish I could remember his exact words!) He said they didn't have to agree with their parents but they were to be respectful. He went on to explain that they should ask their parents further about the rules they felt differently than their parents about so they could better understand why such a rule was in place in their home. Immediately Evenly turned to me and said, "Mom why do you make us do a job every morning?" I responded that we all help in our home to get the work done. That by working together we have time to do fun things together. If mom and dad did all of the work we wouldn't have time for fun family things. After a few minutes passed I felt I need to add to my response. I nudged her and said, "Evelyn Mom and Dad also ask you to do jobs because someday you are going to be a grown up. We're teaching you so that you'll know how to be a good grown up. Imagine what kind of grown up you'd be if we didn't teach you how to do the things grown ups know how to do." She beamed and said "Really?" I guess the thought of learning how to be a good grown up was really appealing.
To add to that I asked her to do her job this morning and there was no complaint. She quickly went and did the work. My jaw was on the floor.
It struck me how much more communication we need between children and parents. Its easy to think that communication is happening just because we're together so much. Togetherness does not necessarily equal communication.
Though I don't remember all or even most of what Elder Ballard said he provided the opportunity for a great teaching moment for both of us.
What made the experience even more special was getting to shake his hand. We were told that the stake presidency would be set apart immediately after the meeting because Elder Ballard had another place to be in the afternoon. Meaning there isn't time to stop to say hi to him but as we were filing out of the building he passed by us and put out his hand to shake hands with each member of our family. So to add to our special moment Evelyn shook an apostle's hand, the very one that spoke and she heard the message.
So I'm making changes in more things than I expected with this corn allergy. There are a number of products I didn't think were made with corn, for instance distilled vinegar. I always thought it was made from wheat. I guess since the government subsidizes corn its in more products than ever before. Since corn and wheat are both grains it's logical that there will be overlaps in their potential uses.
I usually cleaned most surfaces of the house with a mixture of vinegar and water. So that's out now. Instead I spray with water and wipe. I've learned that most cleaning products including vinegar really aren't very effective unless they are left on the surface to be cleaned for several minutes before wiping. I usually spray and wipe so they weren't doing much more good than water anyway. If I want to be sure the surface is not only free of visual dirt but those little germs we can't see, I spray the surface with diluted essential oils that have disinfecting properties and let it dry. I really like it too! It seems just as clean as before with the bonus of being healthy, natural, and great smelling.
For more essential oil combinations with cleaning properties click here. I just notice both links are by the same author but different sites. Maybe I should go look into her natural home cleaning books!
Even though change can sometimes be frustrating, a lot of good frequently comes from moving out of our comfort zones. I find I like this cleaning method better than what I was doing before and it seems to be even less expensive than using vinegar and water. Definitely smells better too.
I'm still working out what to do about liquid dish soap. For now I'm using mostly bar soap but there are a few things that just clean up better with the liquid. Suggestions anyone? Maybe I'll just have to use gloves.
So after three days of candy, two children vomiting, and one child who continually came to me to open candy that I couldn't eat but smelled delicious I decided to do something I've never done before. I offered to buy my children's candy.
Oliver has really wanted the Lego Harry Potter computer game but we told him we weren't buying it. I don't have a problem with the game or Oliver occasionally playing video games. We just weren't putting out the money for another game. So he's been saving every penny he comes across. He earns a quarter a week for bringing in the garbage can (an extra chore). So slowly but surely he's been gathering money. He has almost ten dollars which isn't enough yet but I'm proud he's really stuck to it. Its been months now.
So back to the Halloween candy. When I mentioned that I'd purchase any candy that was left at a per piece rate Oliver jumped on it. He was very careful to keep the ones he still wanted but made a few bucks on the rest which he promptly put in his savings jar. Evelyn found a few candies to earn some change. Spencer, who received the same amount of candy as everyone else, only had two pieces left and wasn't about to give them up. He did find and an open, unfinished candy to trade for a few pennies.
So I decided to extend it further. For every candy Oliver receives from school for good behavior or good work and brings home uneaten, I'll purchase for two quarters a piece. His eyes bugged out. That's double the income of his only paying job or chore and way more than he got per piece of Halloween candy. We both get something we want. I get a child eating less sugar by choice who's following instruction and improving in school and he's going to get that game soon. I think he'll be proud of the work he's done to get it too. I know I am.