Friday, August 31, 2007
Jocelyn, here. I haven't blogged in a while, because I've been too busy having a baby, moving...house hunting...and in two weeks, I will be moving again (this time to our first real home!)
Anyway, a friend of mine from CNN is working with Elizabeth Cohen to put together a news segment (on CNN.com) about what it's like being a new mother. I referred her to Sugar & Spice and Tales From the Crib, so make sure that you log onto CNN.com next Thursday (Sept. 6th) in the afternoon to see what they put together. Should be quite entertaining! Go to the Health section and then find "Empowered Patient" around the middle of the page.
PS - More about the segment from their website: Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Medical News correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.
There was a big lump of POO in his hands! Yes, poo. It had fallen out of his diaper...I have NO idea how, but it did. He was mushing it in his fingers and wiping it all over everything. I yelled, "Holy crap! Put that down." It was enough for him to drop it, but then he crawled right through it, smiling at me.
I picked him up and hurried into the bathroom, not realizing the poo was EVERYWHERE. I ripped off his WHITE onesie only to realize a second piece of poo was caught inbetween his shirt and his skin, so it was smeared up his back and hair. I threw him into the tub and tried to clean up the disgusting mess...still working on it actually.
It's official. I'm a mom. There's no going back now.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
(I can't figure out how to turn off the underline, Sorry!) Anyway, I received this from my Mom and thought it was cute and wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy!
PARENT - Job Description
This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way, I don't believe any of us would have done it!!!!
Mom, Mommy, Mama
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Papa
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a
half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
One of the only areas that I can claim to at least be a bit of an expert in is early childhood music. I started teaching early childhood music in Michigan then taught at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. Both places had different ideas about curriculum but the idea remained the same, that giving your child the gift of music was priceless.
Luckily we know more about education in early childhood now than we did a few decades ago. Your child experiences peak learning times throughout their young life. The book, Music Play, states “Unless cells are used to make neurological connections and synapses related to each of the senses at appropriate times, the cells will direct themselves to enhancing other senses, and the sense that is neglected will be limited throughout life.” To develop their music potential, our young ones should be a part of a rich, musical environment. Until age 8, you child has the opportunity to develop his/her music potential that will serve them the rest of their life.
The goal of early childhood music is not necessarily to create professional musicians. It is just to give children the experiences that will help them to enjoy and participate successfully in music throughout their lives and hopefully bring music into their children’s lives.
So what can you do?? Bring music into your home and into your lives. Sing and dance with your kids. Tap the steady beat to songs. Listen to a variety of music. It’s that easy.
If you’re interested in more, sign up for an early childhood music class. There are some programs that are nationwide like Music Together, The Music Class, The Music Playhouse, Kindermusik, etc. I personally have never taught with any of these and couldn’t tell you which ones are better than others. But also look and see if there is a community music school in your area like MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. Sometimes Schools of Music in Universities have Early Childhood Music programs in the community. Example: Michigan State University and University of North Texas.
Classes are usually parent-child classes and consist of informal learning. (It’s all about exposure and environment.) It is a special time for you to be with just that one child. You participate throughout the entire class, but the teacher provides all the activities and a good portion of the energy. So even though you’re very active in the class as a parent, it is somewhat of a break for you since the teacher provides most of the fun. It’s also a great social outlet for both you and your child.
I have not found the right place to continue teaching early childhood music in my area, but I love it and want it to be a part of my daughter’s life so I teach one class in my home every week for my daughter and a few babies who are within weeks (or even days) of her age. So far it’s a blast for all involved, but I think that I am having the most fun.
If you would like to know more about what I personally do in my classes, here is a letter I sent to the Moms in my daughter’s class:
Classes consist of:
1) Songs and chants:
Our class will always start with a "Hello Song" and end with a "Goodbye Song". Songs throughout the class will be sung with or without words and of various tonalities like Dorian, Mixolydian, etc. (not just Major and minor). This gives our babies' fresh brains exposure to a rich variety of music. Some songs will be sung without words because children tend to focus more on words (particularly as toddlers) when they learn songs instead of the tones. I usually follow up repetitions of a song by reinforcing the "resting tone" or "home pitch". Chants will also be with and without words and of various meters.
In most activities we will be doing either steady beat movement, flowing movement, and/or body awareness (where parts of the body are!). Movement activities may also include fast vs. slow, heavy vs. light steps, bound vs. free movement, and direct vs. indirect (straight lines vs. curvy lines).
Sometimes we will get up with our babies and just DANCE! I will be playing various recordings. Sometimes we'll dance with scarves or dance in a "move and freeze" type game.
4) Pattern Instruction
I will be singing or chanting tonal and rhythmic patterns interspersed throughout the class and related to the song or chant we are currently singing or chanting. For example, I may sing some Major tonal patterns in between repetitions of a Major song. This is informal learning. It is just exposing the kids to patterns in music which is analogous to how we expose children to words that make up our verbal language.
We will try to read a book at each class. Other props will include things like egg shakers, rhythm sticks, bean bags, scarves, and a parachute.
Just wanted to share one more example. When I was in college, Edwin Gordon, famous theorist in the world of music education, was a guest speaker in one of my classes. He was singing patterns in one of the unusual tonalities: Dorian. After he sang a pattern, he would point to one of us and we would sing a pattern back in Dorian. After awhile he stopped and expressed how each of us who had sung alone had avoided the pitches that were unique to the Dorian scale. We were singing pitches of Dorian that were also found in the natural minor tonality. He said it had a lot to do with the fact that we just weren’t exposed to it as children. Now as music majors we were all working our buns off to sing comfortably in all of the tonalities. I feel really comfortable now, but it took some time. Anyway, the point is, much like with verbal language, if you are exposed to it from an early age you can become fluent in it.
Well ladies, thanks for reading my attempt at a condensed post on early childhood music. It’s certainly a passion of mine and I think music brings joy to everyone’s lives. Hope you can find a way to put more music in your day! Have fun!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
My SIL warned me of this but it was one of those things that I didn't really worry about it until it happened to me. So I know the cell phone shouldn't be a toy, but sometimes I'm desperate as I'm trying to finish something up or whatever. She sucked on it and I couldn't hear the voice on the other end of the phone for a day. Luckily it dried out and the sound came back, but I was about to have to buy a new phone!
2. Don't spray any cleaning products by your TV.
I was dusting the TV stand using that Pledge stuff and some of it must have gotten inside of the back of the TV where there are a bunch of slots. My husband was playing video games and all of a sudden the right side of the screen was green. I was mortified because it's a new TV. It, too, was better the next day, but there was one other random time where it was green on the side later on which still leaves me a bit worried. At least we have a protection plan on it for a few years.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Natalie let me in on this and I thought others might be interested:
In case you haven't heard, there is a make-up line (featured on Oprah) called E.L.F. - stands for eyeslipsface ( www.eyeslipsface.com). Anyway, it is a higher end line that Nordstrom's has recently purchased...so, they are clearancing out all of their on-line inventory. Everything is only $1.00. Then, on orders up to $20.00 - you can enter promo code Carolina and it will take 50% off your order - making everything only 50 cents. It truly is a steal! I hope ya'll have a lovely day. If you don't want the make up they have great brushes for sale too for only a dollar!!!!!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I know it won't last forever but any advice would be very helpful!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
These have been the BEST books. I've really enjoyed them, especially now that there is no more Harry Potter. On Stephenie Meyer's website there is a link of Reviews for the first book. Maybe you'd like to check them out if you need more convincing to pick these up. So far there are 3 in the series. The first is "Twilight," second "New Moon," and last "Eclipse," and there's a fourth one due out next fall.
I think people compare it to Harry Potter because it has that "what if" kind of feeling...you know, "maybe it could happen." The plot is ingenious really. The story is about a klutz who finds herself falling in love with a vampire...can you see the conflict? She's always falling down and bleeding, so he's always fighting the urge to finish her off. It's a lot of fun! If I were to put it a genre it would go under romance first, then para-normal. It's also REALLY leisurely reading...you'll find that you can't up them down.
Now go get them!! What are you waiting for?
Monday, August 20, 2007
My husband and I are of the view that getting out of sacrament meeting is not a prize, so she has to sit in our lap quietly or go back into sacrament meeting quietly. However, we get to the other side of the church and another whole family is there. Like I said, I could sit down with her and talk with her quietly but the other family had two small kids near her age, running around, getting toys out, playing. So of course, mine starts wiggling and asking for "down" and shoving away from me. I felt bad for not letting her play when, at least at first, she was asking nicely, but also wanted to stick to my guns. After several attempts to make it back into sacrament meeting reverently, I gave in and let her play for the last five minutes. I took her back in right before the closing song and got her to sit with a book during the song and my husband praised my efforts and guiltily I admitted that I'd let her play for the last few minutes.
I hope I haven't just sabotaged all my efforts to help her realize she'd rather be in sacrament meeting :) but I also sat in the hall wondering how much of a problem it really was to let her run around, thinking "she'll learn to be reverent in sacrament meeting eventually?"
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I bought a plastic recipe box, and little alphabetized separaters. Now, I am working on going through the issues and cutting out things that I think I will want to refer to later, and then filing them. I'm not necessarily cutting out whole articles, especially because it's just a little recipe box. The thing that I especially wanted to save was the little tips and ideas about fun things to do with children. For instance, Parenting magazine has a page every issue called Play List, with ideas for things that are creative and can just be done around the house without spending money. For example, from this month's issue, one of the ideas is ways to use cookie cutters, like using them for stencils, play dough, and melon, etc.
Anyway, I thought it was a good way to "de-junk" my house of magazines, and it'll be a quick easy reference for ways to entertain a bored toddler in a couple of years, when I run out of ideas!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Motherwear has a pretty good selection of supportive nursing bras. I should have my hubby write a testimony about them. When I modeled the bra I ordered (with a shirt over it, of course, for maximum realistic effect, and nursing bras really aren't that sexy) he couldn't believe how perky I looked. I feel like I look like I've had a boob job or lost 10 pounds or I don't know what.
Just a tip for anyone else out there that has big bosoms and is nursing. I would order close to your pre-pregnancy size - the cups are pretty generous. I will warn you, they are a little expensive - I only bought one and it was nearly $50. Almost the best $50 I have ever spent.
Friday, August 17, 2007
1) I need to take more pictures of my husband and I.
2) I was thinking about an Oprah show I saw a year or so ago. An author of a book about marriage and parenting was on the show. She said it was most important to love your spouse, and your children second. Women in the audience were up in arms about it. I saw the author's point. I mean of course you would do anything for your children and you put so much time and effort into caring for them. I definitely spend more time with my child in the day than my husband. BUT, I do see keeping our marriages strong as being so very vital. A happy marriage can definitely affect our parenting and our children. I think marriage can affect all aspects of our health too. As a fairly new parent, I sometimes see seasoned families and wonder what the parents do to keep their marriages thriving or what they don't do that makes their marriage suffer.
I don't know if I really have a point, but just wondered if anyone had thoughts on the subject.
Basically, I don't know what to do. I am breastfeeding him. I introduced solids about 2 weeks ago and then stopped one week ago until his BM is a little more regular. I don't want to add to any possible constipation. I worry about the heat here in AZ so I have been trying to supplement nursing with water. He has plenty of wet diapers so at this point I am not worried about hydration.
Anyone have insight or experience?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Typical Toddler Language Development:
6 Months-cooing, gurgling, babbling repetitive syllables (dadada, mamamam), making noise when alone, localizing to sounds, understanding some single words (gets excited when you say bottle, etc.), recognizes familiar voices
9-12 Months-approximating single words with intention (mama, baba), imitates sounds, understands familiar words, responds to simple requests or questions (Are you all done?)
18 Months-Speech is mostly gibberish, dropping final consonants (ha for hat), gestures with language, vocabulary of ~20 single words, identifying some body parts
24 Months-Speech is 50% intelligible to an unfamiliar listener, varies intonation to ask questions, understands many more words than expressed, vocabulary of at least 50 words, combining two words (mommy cup)
3 years-75-80% intelligible to unfamiliar listener, can produce most sounds but some sounds still substituted, follows two-step directions, understands different parts of grammar (pronouns, past tense, etc.), asks “wh” questions (what, when, who, where, why, how)
If you’re worried something’s wrong with their development:
-Trust your gut. You’re the Mom for a reason! YOU are your child’s expert!
-Talk with your pediatrician-your child’s other expert! Most pediatricians are really savvy about taking action when needed. But don’t hesitate to push if you’re worried.
-I’m a firm believer in “better safe than sorry”! Speech Pathologists work with your pediatrician to assess skills and most school districts have free preschool screenings as well as being required by law to assess skills from BIRTH! It’s better to get it checked out and know than “wait and see”. There is too much evidence that early intervention is the best! No assessment is a waste of time. Even when a child’s test is squeaky clean, I never send the parents away without recommendations and ideas to help spur on their development because they obviously came because they were worried.
-Look at your child’s overall development as well as family history. Is it only their speech or is it fine and gross motor as well? Did Mom or Dad talk late or need speech therapy? (This is not a reason to wait, though, because we know a LOT more now than we used to about speech and treatment!)
-Start early with modeling! One of the best things I did was model signs from the get-go so that at 9 months, my baby was signing “more”, “milk”, and all “all done” and could communicate with me. Read to your children and not just the words. Take their books sometimes and just point to the pictures and label things.
Language Facilitation Ideas:
Expansion-Take what they say and add a piece of info to it. Acknowledge their efforts (even when incorrect) and keep it short and on their level (two words for two year olds, three words for three year olds, etc.)
Mom: Yes, red ball!
Child: doggie (pointing to a cow)
Mom: Yes, he has a tail like a doggie. That’s a cow!
Parallel Talk-give a play-by-play of what your child is doing. If they’re playing with their farm, talk about what they’re doing.
Mom: Cow eat. Horsie jump. Chicken in.
Self Talk-similar to parallel talk but stick to what YOU’RE doing.
Mom: Mommy jump. Mommy eat. I want cookies.
Follow their Lead-I find too often that parents are surprised by the idea of getting on the ground and playing with their own kids!!! Get down on their level to get joint attention and eye contact. Play with what they want to play with. Interpret their body movements and facial expressions and give verbal meaning to them. If they’re smiling and dancing, tell them, “Oh, you’re dancing! You like dancing!”
WAIT!!! Give the child room to comment, request, protest, ask for more, etc! This is the hardest one, but it’s also one of the most important ones! Watch your child for cues that they need more time to talk but not waiting too long that the tantrum comes!
Sabotage their environment-Only fill the cup up a little bit so they have to ask for more. Put their toys in plastic bins so they have to ask for help to open.
Model, Model, Model! You are their best model for language! “Motherese”, or speaking in a higher, sing-songy pitch is great, but using baby talk, or “Does widdo baby want her wawa?” doesn’t model good speech patterns. Give meaning to what you’re doing and they’ll attach meaning to what they’re doing!
Okay, I’m done! I hope I haven’t scared or overwhelmed anyone. I don’t want to preach, just share what I love! In my work, I’ve found that I can sometimes be a pariah to friends and family! I’ve been cornered at enrichment meetings and pumped for information by friends, but my own brother has my Mom ask me questions! There is so much information out there that helps us be better Moms. I just hope I added to or reinforced it!
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
In like April, I put an ad on Craigslist advertising piano lessons. I truly wasn't ready for it yet at that point in time. I got about 3 e-mails but nothing follow-throughed. It was just as well. Just recently, I've been like really ready to teach again. It's the perfect time and I'm organized and excited about. I thought maybe I should try the newspaper instead. They convinced me to do a 12-day run of an ad and it was $68.00. I was drawn into it because to do like two days was like only $20 less than doing 12. I chalked it up as a business expense that would hopefully pay off. Then I put an ad on Craigslist again for FREE. I got about three times the response from Craigslist than I did with the newspaper and it didn't cost me a cent. I have exceeded my goal as to how many students I wanted to get and most of them were from Craigslist. Thank you Craig!
I do this several times a year. Near the end of the warm seasons, I get sick of the same things I'm cooking over and over and run out of meal ideas that don't use the oven and heat up the house. In the winter, I get sick of baking, casseroles, and soup. Do you have any fresh ideas to get me through the rest of summer? Favorites? Anything????
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
My daughter's 1st birthday is coming up. I want to give her some gifts (not that she really cares) but I don't have a lot of extra money. Last week I went to a Half Price Books. I didn't get to spend as much time there as I wanted to, but the few minutes I spent there were great. They have used books there for cheap, but even brand new books were at half price. I went straight to the board book section and found many I was interested in. I purchased a few new books that were like $2.98 each. If you're looking for a specific book, I'm not sure that you would always find it there, but if you just need to spice up your collection with a few new ones, this is the place to go. Unfortunately it is not in every state, but if it's not where you live, maybe you'll find one the next time you travel. This picture shows you the states where they currently have stores with more store openings coming soon.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
First of all I will tell my story that ended with me finding out about this problem. During the last three months of my first pregnancy, my blood pressure increased dramatically. The doctor was worried that I was developing preeclampsia so I was immediately put on bed rest. Once I was on bed rest my weight starting soaring. After my daughter was born I became extremely depressed, but blamed it on being over stressed with having a baby during Thanksgiving vacation and returning to school 5 days later to get ready for finals. The weight kept increasing, but I didn’t have the energy or time to dedicate to it. That summer I decided to go to a nutritionist and start an exercise program. Sadly I didn’t see any results. A little later I became pregnant with my son. I was 60 lbs overweight and determined to not make it worse. Luckily I only gained the 15 lbs my doctor recommended, and he decided to treat my high blood pressure with medication, but ultimately I was put on bed rest. After my son was born I was put on medication for postpartum depression. Six months later my daughter came to me and told me she wanted a big tummy like mommy. I realized how much of an effect my weight was having on my family and I felt that I was going to need to try harder losing weight this time. My husband and I signed up at a local gym that had day care. I started going to the gym five days a week and stuck to a strict diet. After 4 months I had gained 5 lbs of muscle. Something had to be wrong. I went to my wonderful OBGYN and explained my frustration. He sent me to doctor who specializes in weight loss. After many, many tests we discovered what was wrong, I had hypothyroidism. They believe that I developed it during my first pregnancy.
“Some women develop hypothyroidism during or after pregnancy (postpartum hypothyroidism), often because they produce antibodies to their own thyroid gland. Left untreated, hypothyroidism increases the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and preeclampsia — a condition that causes a significant rise in a woman's blood pressure during the last three months of pregnancy. It can also seriously affect the developing fetus. “
After learning more about it I knew that my problems with pregnancy and weight gain were mainly cause by hypothyroidism. Immediately my doctor prescribed Armour Thyroid, a medication that is made from a pig’s thyroid gland. It has been a year and I love the difference I feel. I have more energy, since fatigue is a symptom, and have been able to lose 45 lbs to date. I hope this information helps others with diagnosing this problem. I wish that I had been diagnosed during my first pregnancy. It took over three years to figure out what was wrong with me, and I think it took so long because so many of my symptoms could be blamed on other pregnancy symptoms. But it is easily treated with a daily pill that is less than $10 a month for the name brand without insurance.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Foreclosures: Something like 1 in 10 houses right now are in foreclosure. This is sad for the people who have lost their homes, but great for someone looking for one! I really wish we would have looked at foreclosures and preforeclosures more the first time. You can get an amazing bargain. One of the myths is that foreclosures = dump. This is sometimes the case, but other times it's a new, nice house, that someone thought they could afford and then lost a job, or whatever. When it is a bank owned property, the bank is desperate to stop losing money, and they will settle for the minimum they need to "not lose money." Usually the price you see is already lower than a typical house in that range, and my realtor just informed me that the bank will usually accept an offer 10-15% below THAT. Bad news...they go fast when they are such a good deal, so you have to be on top of things. More bad news...the bank won't even consider an offer on a foreclosure if you have a house to sell first. That's the bummer we just realized, because we had been looking at a lot of foreclosures. But if you're looking for your first house, I think this is definitely something to look into.
Get a Realtor! When we first started looking at houses, I though "I'm not that serious, if there's a house I'm interested in, I'll just call the number and ask to see it." That's not the best way to do it though. The realtor trying to sell the house wants to make money, so they're not necessarily going to do what's in your best interest. But if you get your own realtor, you sit down with them, tell them what you're looking for (you can be as picky as you want) and they will go to work for you! With the internet these days, they can set you up with a search that will automatically email you new listings that come up within your range. You can literally shop for houses from home, and when there's something you want to see in person, you have your realtor take you. Best part is, you shouldn't have to pay them anything. They get paid by the person selling the house when you buy it.
Choose Your Lender Carefully: My mom is a banker, and she warned me often about all the mortgage companies that are out there. As a general rule, a bank is usually a safer option. But some of the mortgage companies are ok, just do your research and check out their credibility. Also, know about the different kinds of interest rates, and definitely watch out for adjustable rates. This is how a lot of people end up in foreclosure! Overall, just know the options available to you. For instance, in MI you can qualify for a MCHDA loan if you are a first time home owner and get a way lower interest rate. So do your homework!
Don't Settle! I was so anxious to get into a house, that I almost signed a purchase agreement twice before we found our actual home. Luckily I had a great realtor who could tell I wasn't really in love, and he didn't let me settle! Every house we looked at seemed better than the last. This is an area that you should let yourself be picky about. You are going to spend a lot of time in your house, and pay a lot of money for it. You should love it! Overall, I'm happy in our home. But sometimes I wonder if I would have found something I was really crazy about if we had kept looking. I'm trying not to settle for a second one until I love something so much I'm afraid to go to sleep for fear of someone else getting it before us!
Other random tips:
Consider resale value: the neighborhood, how old the house is, etc. You realtor will have good tips about it
Consider other costs besides just the purchase price: what kind of work it needs, how old the furnace is, roof, etc.
A big one: find out what taxes are in the area. This could add several hundred dollars a month to your mortgage if it's a high tax area!
Hope this didn't put you to sleep and that you found something useful in it!
My sis told me about it back when I first started blogging, but I've just recently started actually using it. If you like to check up on a lot of blogs, it can save you time. You just put in the blogs you read and then each time you log into bloglines, you can have it list the blogs that have a new post since you last logged in. I'm loving it BIG TIME. And speaking of time, it saves a lot of it.
I definitely don't consider myself an "expert" but I'd like to share one of my secret passions with you: family history and genealogy. The morning after I had my strange dream I talked to my mom about what had been said to me. (I thought she would laugh at it because she is the QUEEN of family history...after all, how could there be someone missing from my family tree when my mom was spending 8 hours a week doing genealogy?) Instead she told me I did have a missing g-g-g-uncle. He had run away from home when he was about 14 years old and was never heard from again.
To make a very long story shorter, George Brown (my missing uncle) was found during the spring of 2006 when England released their 1880 London census to the Church's family history center. Can you believe it?!? He was married and had children of his own.
Family History seems like a daunting task, especially if you don't know much about it. I thought maybe I could share some things that might help.
1. If you're starting from scratch you'll need to start with your own, personal 4-generation chart (the chart linked here requires Adobe). Get as much information as you can: full names, birth dates and places, and death dates and places.
*FYI: When you write a woman's full name in any kind of family history you only use their MAIDEN name.
*Dates also have a universal way of being written: Day/Month (in a 3-letter abbreviation)/Full year. For example today is 01 AUG 2007, and Christmas will be 25 DEC 2007.
Some of you might still have church leaders who tell you to submit a 4-generation chart to the Salt Lake Family History center (FHC). Although the FHC wouldn't turn your sheet away, this form of information is obsolete now. The church would actually rather have you submit a PAF file, which will be discussed below.
2. The LDS Church has one of the best family history search engines out there. But don't try to search for someone who is living...they're not in there! Start by searching for the most recent death in your family. This would most likely be a grandparent. All you need is their first and last name, any other information will help narrow your search. Familysearch.org is great because the search results will include different spellings or the name you're searching for. Your search results will come from a few different places: Information other people have submitted, census records, Social Security death index, international information gathered by the church, and personal websites that include the person you're searching for.
3. If you're really interested down load the church's PAF program. (Scroll down on this page and click on the "Free PAF Program link). This is a fantastic computer program...and it's free! A PAF is a "Personal Ancestry File" that you use on the computer. It has taken the place of the church's infamous "4-generation chart." At any time you wish you may upload your PAF online to the Church's Family History head-quarters, where it will later be made available online to the entire world.
4. Once you are able to record all of the information you can based on what you and your family members know you start researching. It's not nearly as boring as it sounds. Although, I won't bother you with it now.
I hope this was informative or interesting, or at least a good way to kill some time...any questions?