Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pictures coming soon!

I have been busier than a marshmallow vendor while Rome burned!  At the beginning of March, I realized I did not have A SINGLE UNSCHEDULED DAY in the entire month!  It has gotten busier since then!  And, while all of the stuff is good—some of it is FABULOUS, even—it is still LOTS OF BUSY!

 Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Both the Yoga and the Herbs classes that we are taking are offered though our Tech HS Community Ed classes.  Yoga is very sneaky—it starts off so easy you think “this isn’t even really exercise!” and then, before you know it, you are working so hard you can’t believe it!  I am really enjoying it—I love it even more because I am doing it with BigGirl!  I wish we had somewhere closer (it is about 45 min North of us) so we could do it several times a week. 

The Herb class is actually 5 freestanding classes that I signed up to take as the entire series.  Mary Colvin, the teacher is a woman who is a Master Herbalist, certified through Dr. Christopher’s School of Natural Healing in Springville, UT (where my friend Heidi worked).  The first class was on Growing a Medicinal Herb Garden.  The second class was “Herbal First Aid” and the third was “Herbs for Women’s Issues”.  I am working on designing and preparing gardens, and hope to plant them next year.  However, it did make me feel better about several “weeds” that I never got around to exterminating—turns out they are awesome helpers that I was already growing!  YAY!

I am taking Beekeeping classes, also, and I will gradually buy apiary supplies this year and get my bees next spring.  I am REALLY excited about that—I didn’t think it would be possible to think bees were any cooler, but the more I learn, the more fabulously awesome they are—truly celestially designed!  (However, the pests that affect them are DEFINITELY in the telestial category!  GROSS and nasty!)   I will probably start my “vermiculture” worm farm this year.  Pretty neat little critters—but not as beautiful as bees!  Red Wigglers eat 1 ½ times their body weight a day in household waste that they turn into the highest possible quality compost!  You can just set up a bin in the basement or outside and make sure they have plenty of kitchen scraps and newsprint, and enough moisture, and they do their magic without much outside interference!

We had the Candyland Activity last Wednesday, so now I can give you more details!  The Laurels wanted to plan a really special Mother-Daughter Activity, and they recruited me, because they know where my talents lie!  We actually started the planning back in November, and over the Christmas break Sarah K and Aryn P came for a 2 day sleepover, and we started work on decorations.  BigGirl and I have been working at least once a week on parts of it since then! 

It started with walking in the YW hallway under 8 ft tall Candy Canes flanking the inner glass doors, with a “Welcome to Candyland” sign.  There were bright paper squares on the floor, like the game board.  If you followed them, you went into the YW room, where the front chalkboard had been turned into the Peppermint Forest, and they did a craft, decorating picture frames with Starlight Mints (red and green).  Then they went to the “Gumdrop Mountains”, and guessed how many gumdrops were in a jar.  Then on to “Peanut Acres” where they played cornhole with beanbags shaped like peanuts.  Each of those areas had a large (4-5 foot long) painted backdrop.  Then out into the hall, past “Lollipop Woods” which had 6 paper mache lollipops that were about a foot across standing in a grove. 

In the RS room we had 4 tables set up, each with a brightly colored plastic tablecloth. The table centerpieces were little gingerbread houses. Over the chalkboard we had the “Candy Castle” which was a castle I painted on sheet years ago for a little girls birthday.  Up at the front we had the “Chocolate Swamp, where I had a chocolate brown silk fabric “chocolate waterfall” and a real chocolate fountain, with stuff to dip.  On the other food table we had sandwiches in the shape of gingerbread people and “cupcakes” made with mini meatloaves in aluminum cupcake papers, topped with mashed potatoes piped on like frosting, then baked.  Out in the hallway by the gym, we blocked it off with the piano, and then put up giant stand up Gingerbread Mom & Daughter cutouts, where we took pictures of the girls with their moms, and we will put those pictures in their frames as a memento.  It was a HUGE amount of work, but we had a really good turnout, and we had several of the less active girls and everybody had fun, so it was worth it!

The next morning was our Seminary visit from our Stake Seminary Supervisor.  He drives all the way up from  Columbus twice a year to visit!  (He has to get up at 2am, and he is still willing, cheerful and brings donuts!  Talk about dedication!)  After he left, I jumped in the shower, then got SmallDaughter dressed and on the bus, then left for town, where I hooked up with a couple from my Ward, and my newly returned from his mission cousin, and we went to the Temple.  It was a wonderful session, even though I was running on 4 hours of sleep!  I stayed in town for an hour, then drove over to the church, where I carpooled BACK down to Columbus for the Stake Primary Leadership Meeting.  It was also very good.  There were several classes on Special Needs children, which was excellent, since SmallDaughter’s new Assistant was able to go! 

I had been really worried about finding a babysitter for SmallDaughter for Saturday’s Quad Stake Seminary Activity/Dance—I knew I would be gone 10+ hours, and there was NO way she would like it!  However—the babysitter situation was looking pretty dire!  Grandpa & Grandma were in Maryland for her brother’s wedding, LargeCousin & Auntie were in their final performance of “Oklahoma”, and Bestie K and her kids are in TX, where her mom has been in Intensive Care with internal bleeding.  Even my backups—were all babysitting grandkids!  AARGH!  I finally asked the mom of one of my seminary boys, and she was willing, but was sick, and not sure how she would be feeling.  Anyway, in blessings many layers deep, My Favorite Gentleman got to come home on Friday, so SmallDaughter just got to have an awesome day with her daddy!  He took her to see “Wreck-it Ralph”, to ride the carousel (once on the chariot, twice on kitties), and to eat Hamburgers at McDonalds! 

So, on Friday, I worked on the house (slowly, since I was super-tired!), and I was at Beekeeping Class when My Favorite Gentleman got home, but boy was it nice to see him!  It is working out that he comes home once a month, and I go see him once, so I average seeing him every two weeks, with the kids seeing him once.  Better than nothing, but less than ideal.  Please pray that he will be transferred to a crew that works 10 days on, 4 off, so he can be home more.  Saturday was the big seminary activity, and it was really fun.  I took my whole seminary crew and we had a great time, but I got home a little after midnight, and had to leave the house on Sunday at 8, so I could be at Ward Council by 9.  I presented the new Summer Project—instead of Book of Mormon Reading, we are doing a Summer of Service.  I have had so much inspiration on this, it has already been awesome for me, and I hope we can get the rest of the Ward to catch the spirit!

Today we are going to go pick up our new chicks!  Always a fun time!  (We just got back—they are--OF COURSE!—super cute!)  And varied, because I just got 25 assorted brown egg layers. I think we have 4 or 5 breeds—lots of barred (black and white striped feathers, very pretty), some yellow chicks that will probably be regular red chickens and 4 cute little “booted” girls that have feathers on their feet, and are a really pretty “seal” brown like a Siamese cat! 

BigGirl going to Spain is because we found a neat program called Pueblo Ingles, where they pair up native English speakers with Spaniards who need to practice English.  We only have to pay for plane fare, and they put the “anglos” up at a 4-Star resort, all expenses paid for 1 or 2 weeks.  All she has to do, is have lots of 1 on1 conversations with teens from Spain!  And,  they use English speakers from all over the world, so she can meet friends from South Africa, Ireland, Australia, etc.  The only problem we are having is with scheduling, because the teen program mainly runs through the month of July—right when she has Youth Conference and Girls Camp!  We are doing our best, but she is planning to try next year if we can’t make this year work!  And for just awesomeness, our passports have arrived!

How is everybody doing?  Well, My Favorite Gentleman is working lots and lots, BigGirl is busy doing awesome young lady things like watching the Lizzie Bennett Diaries (which finish up next week!!), staying updated on several webcomics, reading stacks and stacks of books, going to plays and various social awesome things, and  being on the Stake Youth Committee.  LargeBoy is drawing all the time, and having a great time being awesome with his seminary bros.  They alternate between video games, drawing, creating live online adventures via chat with the various far away friends, learning to play musical instruments and practicing sweet dance moves.  He is also working on becoming a fashion-meister with his own hipster, thrift store style.  It is pretty awesome (often involves hats, suspenders, cool belts and custom decorated canvas tennis shoes).  SmallDaughter is doing really well.  She is continuing to progress in school, and when I had our meeting with her teacher, Mrs. K, (who taught her for 3rd grade, didn’t for 4th and had her this year for 5th), she has noticed LOTS more concentration, and Lots less picking, which gives me hope.  I am just doggy paddling along, trying to keep everything in balance!

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