Sunday, January 29, 2017

Preparing for Church

Sunday pic from last Spring
"Saturday day is a special day -  
It's the day we get ready for Sunday..."

These words from a primary song learned in my youth echo through my mind as I prepare - all week - for the one hour on Sunday when my two toddlers and now newborn must be quiet at the same time for a whole 70 minutes.

Although Esther likes to narrate life as it passes before her and generally only has one decibel level - near-shouting -we nailed the reverence thing today.  Finally.

So that I can capture and replicate what we did that worked today, here's a run-down of the preparation and real-time management for that 70 minutes:

* purchasing church-appropriate (for the non-Mormons out there, think of attire appropriate for a casual wedding) clothes for three little people and an ever-morphous mama (Lance was asked what size I was, and he said that it depends - true! - three kids in four years means my body shape is constantly changing, making clothing myself in anything but lounge wear a little tricky)
* washing and ironing clothes
* having said clothes ready to wear Sunday morning, usually pulling them out the night before - I actually slept Ingy in her church outfit so she would be ready in time
* purchasing ingredients for a pancake breakfast, including ordering good gluten-free flour online earlier in the week, so that breakfast on Sunday is quick (our health/food issues mean that breakfast foods for us are generally hot and must be cooked that morning) and my kids will eat enough breakfast to avoid any hypoglycemia issues during the 70 minutes
* having the church bag stocked with appropriate church books and activities to hold the attention of two toddlers for 70 minutes
* purchasing quick and healthy snacks and lunch food while grocery shopping - pouches with protein in them, gluten-free peanut butter cracker sandwiches, nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, and rice cakes - so I don't have to make lunches or snacks in the morning and am less frazzled during church
* separating diaper equipment from food and snacks and books so that the person changing diapers doesn't hijack the other
* getting the kids eating by 7:00 a.m. so that I can
* wake and feed Ingy at 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. so that she is sleeping during the 70 minutes and I can then feed her during the second hour of church, or 10:30 a.m., rather than during the 70 minutes
* have the kids take turns on my lap, and sit physically close to them
* sit on the front pew on the right so the kids are close enough to see and hear the speakers, I am close to an exit, and there are no visual distractions immediately in front of them
* tell G the words of the hymn before we get to that phrase so he can sing along
* narrate in whispered tones the passing of the bread and water to Esther so that she can participate in the way she understands
* pattern for Esther how to whisper each time she yells her ever-constant narration of life ("they are sharing the water?" "They are coming back?" "We get water now?" "We sing a song?" "All done!")
* bribe both toddlers with treats immediately following church as a reward for reverence; explain to Gideon what kind of reverent behavior I expect during church - sitting with his bum on the pew, not talking loudly, listening or reading books or drawing what the speaker is saying, singing the song; praise them for their reverence throughout the 70 minutes

Just writing it all out makes me tired - I now need a nap!

Question: What do you do that helps your church experience be more reverent?  Would LOVE to know!


  1. My mom always had us practice being reverent at home during the week. I have yet to do this with my little ones but it certainly helped us all be more reverent.

  2. Buy yourself a pacapod nappy bag! They are amazing - different pods inside for food and nappies, so you can just pull out the pod you need.