Erin got the teacher she wanted. She is fun and young and loves Erin. Funny story about how young she is. When it was 9/11 she told the kids that she was in school when it happened. I was thinking like college or high school at the very least. Then Erin said she was in 4th grade! Jared and I just started laughing because it doesn't seem like it was that long ago, yet I was graduated from college at the time. So yeah, she is a reminder of how old we are getting and how young 23 actually is.
This was Apple Art for the letter A.
A is also for Airplane
This was the day we made Green Goo for the letter G. It was also the day before Halloween, which is why they're dressed up.
I've also been busy with my calling as the relief society weekday activity leader. The one in September was so much work for me. It was a craft night where we did holiday wood block decor. I took all the orders, made some spreadsheets to keep track of it all, cut all of the wood and put them together in little kits for people to pick up at the activity. We had lots of people sign up for two crafts each, so about 600 pieces of wood. I also got vinyl cut, bought other supplies and paint... it was a lot of work! I tried to delegate as much as I could, but in the end, I wanted to make sure that people had everything they needed when they got there so I made sure of it myself. It was a huge success. We'd had an average of about 20 people at previous activities and this one brought 65, including a bunch of non-members. So apparently when you say "craft" and "free" then people start coming out of the woodwork.
I've been doing the RS activities for almost three years and definitely had my ups and downs with it. When I first moved here, I was going through a really bad depression and had a hard time making friends, like good close friends, which is what I needed. That made the calling a bit challenging. I remember having to hold back my tears going to meetings in the beginning. The committee was really great back then and had been doing it for a long time together, so that made things easier. Our ward split the day Hallie was born and I immediately got called to the RS activities committee. That was such a good calling because I could do whatever I was asked but I wasn't ultimately responsible. A year later, our ward split again and I got called as the leader again. Since our ward was so small, we had an almost non-existent committee. Those first activities were a bit rough. I remember feeling like such a failure because no matter what I did, it seemed like very few people would come (our ward was small at that time). There was one big one we did in March where we made freezer meals to take to anyone in need in the ward. That took a lot of coordination and preparation, and there was some miscommunication between me and the counselor I was working with. We both bought ingredients for the same recipes! Ugh. But even though I was so frustrated, I felt prompted to start talking to her and she really opened up to me. Now we are good friends. (One reason to be grateful for this calling)
There was another time when a new girl got called who was really struggling at the time. I wanted to get released a few months before, but the bishop said he thought I should keep doing it. I tried to reach out to this girl and help her feel welcome, but it wasn't until after one activity that I began talking to her and realized that we had been through some of the same things. I just really felt like she needed to hear some of my experiences, things that I don't tell very many people. I feel like those experiences were why I had to be in this calling for so long, and I'm glad I didn't quit.
At the beginning, someone's husband was making all the posters & flyers. At some point, he couldn't do it anymore so I reluctantly said I could do it. I got so many compliments on the first few posters I did, even though I was not at all confident about doing it. After a while, I realized that I liked making them and was pretty good at it. I don't know why I was so reluctant because I had put together a lot of layouts in architecture school, but it took doing it month after month to bring me the confidence I needed. I've even made them for the whole stake. Here are some of them:
Today I am 24 weeks pregnant, so less than 4 months to go. I have been really excited and happy about this one, probably because I feel like it is our last one. I have also been feeling pretty good, physically and emotionally, which I am so grateful for. I felt like it was going to be a girl since before I got pregnant (and yes, this one was very much planned in advance). Everyone else thought it would be a boy, especially my kids because we just couldn't break the pattern--but really, how can you keep up this pattern with so many kids? I was so amazed that it actually was a boy when we found out a few weeks ago. Our midwife was too and said that girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy just doesn't happen. I love that it evens everything out. I always have liked balance and even numbers. This is how I announced it to people. And I've always liked the Brady Bunch! Now if only we could get ourselves a maid.
Another thing that I've been doing that I love is the babysitting co-op. It is a bunch of people in our neighborhood that each have a regular daytime shift and then we rotate for Friday and Saturday night shifts. We pay in popsicle sticks, one stick per kid per half hour. I absolutely love the freedom it gives me. I can go to doctor's appointments or run errands kid free anytime I need to. We haven't needed to pay a babysitter for a long time either because of the weekend co-op. We usually leave Erin and Alex home and drop the other three kids off at the co-op. The older kids love being home alone (without having to watch younger kids) and we don't have to pay as many sticks. I love it!
My shift is Friday morning and it has been super busy every week. I always have tons of sticks, more than I can usually use in a week. I used the co-op 4 times last week alone and I still have 25 sticks left. I really don't mind watching kids once a week for a few reasons. One is that my kids have other kids to play with, thus canceling each other out. Another is that I get enough sticks to leave my kids when I need to. And the last reason is that it forces me to clean my house at least once a week. I mean, you can't have people coming over to leave their kids in a pigsty. It's a win-win. I also love teaching preschool for the same reason, I get a clean house out of it.
One more thing, last Sunday was our ward's primary program. There are almost 100 kids in our primary so they were all squished onto boards that they laid over the seats. All the kids did really well and sang great. Erin, Alex and Marissa all had their parts memorized. Connor needed some help. After Connor said his part, he ended up sitting next to Hunter, who is his best friend and who was purposely not supposed to be sitting next to him. All of a sudden, we noticed that Connor was doing some really crazy things like making funny faces and pretending to sing like a crazy person. Then Hunter started pulling on his tie and pretending to punch him. There was some sliding up and down the bench and squishing each other. It was utterly hilarious! There were some adult teachers up there, but they didn't do anything to try to stop them. I was waiting for one of them to get hurt, but luckily there were no incidents... that is besides being the worst behaved kids in the entire primary program! We were laughing so hard. I have never had a child act that way in a primary program before. I asked Connor why he was doing those faces and he said that he was just trying to make Hunter laugh. Anyway, it was really awesome.