I thought I would give a report of how each session of General Conference goes at my house this weekend. Why? To be honest, so that in 6 months I can re-read this post and see what worked and what didn’t. I also like sharing these real, sometimes messy posts about life with 6 little ones. To start off, where we live the live broadcasts of General Conference run from 12:00pm-2:00pm and 4:00pm-6:00pm both Saturday and Sunday.
We’ve just finished the first session relatively intact, but let me back up. We started our morning with our traditional special breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls. Yum! Lest you think things started smoothly, some of the children seem to be getting a nasty stomach bug and not all the cinnamon rolls stayed down. We’ve had some extra showers and laundry with the vomit – oh joy.
Then we spent the morning going to the grocery store, cleaning the house a bit, and anticipating Conference. The children asked every.half.hour if it was time to watch conference. Their excitement went up a notch as daddy hooked the laptop up to the television to stream the live sessions on the big screen. When 12:00pm rolled around this was what my living room looked like:We spread several tablecloths on the floor, put the baby in a high chair, and everyone had a picnic lunch. This was the best way to start conference!!! Everyone was quiet for at least half an hour while they ate and listened to the speakers. The menu was not made for health, as you’ll see, but for convenience:
- Nutella or Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly Sandwiches
As children finished their food they were given the first activity page on a clipboard. I printed out 20 different papers for each child, coloring sheets, dot to dots, paper dolls, and more. That is 5 per session of Conference, or a change of activity every 24 minutes if need be. I also have a stack of index cards listing quiet activities that are available when we really need them (including playdoh, puzzles, and even file folder games). I filed all the papers in sets by session of conference, because I’m organized like that.
The activity pages alternate between something to make, like a pioneer paper doll set, to something to color, like a picture of Jesus. Makayla also has a set of pages to enable her to take notes, which she was thrilled about: Halfway through conference we pulled out a snack – first up were Dum Dum suckers. The only rule – you must be sitting or you can’t have a sucker. Which effectively keeps the kids quiet and gets them to listen to the speakers because their mouths and hands are full and butts are sitting. We also had some Hershey Kisses during the very last speaker. Mmm…everything’s better with chocolate!
About 3/4ths of the way through Oliver fell asleep. He’s one of my sickies, so it was no surprise. What did surprise me was how quiet and well behaved the children all were for this session. Daniel has just recently been enthralled with coloring and cutting, which was a huge blessing today:I’m anticipating behavior to deteriorate in the later sessions, but for this one everyone was angelic. Even Caleb, who spent a lot of his time snooping at what his siblings were doing. Then he laid down on the floor and gave me this cute picture:
I was able to take notes from each speaker. The topics varied quite a bit, the themes I wrote down were as follows:
- Scriptures – They are inspired, read them, ponder them, memorize them.
- Personal Revelation – The Lord desires to bless and help us, but waits for us to ask, to seek him, and to desire his help.
- The Kingdom of God – It is growing and filling the earth.
- Temples – They are a blessing worth striving for. New temples announced in Utah, Wyoming, Columbia, South Africa, and the Republic of Congo.
- Service – Happiness is found in following the Savior’s example. Do the right thing at the right time in the right way without delay.
- Satan’s Attacks Today – I loved that President Packer began with basically these words: “Young people today are being raised in enemy territory.”
- Discouragement, Worth of a Soul – Another of Satan’s tools is discouragement, but we know that to God each soul is precious, as testified by the wonderful creations he has made for us.
Well, one session down, three to go. Right now my children are all playing games together cheerfully, the baby has fallen asleep, and I’m off to check over dinner preparations. We’ll be eating picnic style again, though it will be partway through the session (remember, it runs from 4pm-6pm here).