August 23, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Yes, I know, I know. I'm sorry I haven't been blogging. But honestly, I simply don't have time. Believe it or not, once my kids went back to school, life got even crazier. Here is what is keeping me busy right now.

- Organizing a Uhaul trailer sized pile of materials for my music classes, and teaching said music classes to preschoolers and kindergarteners. (Is that a word?)

- Researching, comparing prices, and scheduling inflatables for the school fall festival.

- Trying to figure out how to be the treasurer for our school parent organization, collecting dues and money for school shirts, and making deposits almost daily since school started. I also need to research and update the software too, and organize the files, and close out the end of the fiscal year (June), and create new budgets for the new fiscal year, and a lot of other stuff I'm not aware of yet.

- Driving kids to school, preschool, playgroup, gymnastics, and, starting next month, ballet lessons. (Thankfully, Collin can ride his bike to piano lessons and Cub Scouts.) Oh, and picking them up again.

- Pestering my kids to do their homework, practice the piano, clean their bedrooms, and rinse off their dishes.

- Researching and shopping for a new washer and dryer after our 10-year-old set died, taking apart my laundry room and reconfiguring it for the new machines... and putting it back together.

- Organizing the "Art Masterpiece" and "Music Masterpiece" programs for our school for the 2007-2008 school year.

- Preparing a show for the musical theatre performing group for kids I've started; assigning solos and speaking parts, figuring out how to record my voice singing the songs on CD for the kids to practice with (and burning the CD's), typing lyrics for the kids to take home, choreographing the musical numbers, designing and creating scenery, finding a venue for the performance and possibly acquiring a sound system (depending on the venue).

- Planning various Sharing Time lessons.

- Trying to find time to play with and read to Jack.

I don't even like to think about all the other things I need to do that aren't getting done.

So, I don't have time to blog right now. It will just have to wait. But I promise that when things calm down I will tell you all about the above, plus our trip to the ranch, and more. Just be patient.

August 16, 2007

Just Jack

Jack had his first day of preschool yesterday. (Yikes! My baby!) He had a great time and came home wearing his "space helmet."
I can't believe it's just me and Jack at home for most of the day!

As I was in the bathroom getting ready this morning, Jack came in and we had the following conversation:

Jack: Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.

Me: OK.

Jack: But just p**p.

Me: OK.

Jack: I'll go in the other bathroom.

Me: OK. (thanks!)

Jack: But mommy, don't talk on the phone.

Me: O .... huh?

Jack and I have been enjoying spending time together reading and playing, and running errands. He has no older siblings to fight with, which is nice. He has turned out to be quite busy, with music class on Monday (with me.... more about that later), Institute on Tuesday (actually, that's for me... with the ladies in our stake.... but he gets to play in the nursery), preschool on Wednesday, playgroup with his neighbor friends on Thursday, and preschool again on Friday. It gives me an hour or two for myself on a few mornings, but boy it flies by fast!

August 10, 2007

The First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of the new school year. Collin and Mary were very excited.... and a little nervous. Jay gave them each (including Jack, who starts preschool next week) a very nice father's blessing the night before. I couldn't resist peeking at Jack, who had his eyes shut tightly, and a huge grin on his face. He was obviously very pleased. Mary had a nice experience. Afterward she told me she felt all tingly, and I was happy to explain to her that she was feeling the spirit. She was absolutely beaming.

Better Late Than Never

Thanks to Sarah, I have some pictures of our latest trip to Sedona, and Mary's 6th Birthday. Thank you! Thank you!
The first (and last) time I ever bought a birthday cake instead of making it from scratch.

Ohio Trip - Part 5


Day 6 - Monday, July 16th

We decided to check out some antiques stores before we left, so we explored (with "Helga's" help) the Lorain Avenue Antiques district in Cleveland. Wow. I'm not an antiques expert, but I couldn't believe how many shops there were in one place, and how many amazing things each shop had!

I was especially taken in by "Century Antiques." They had the most gorgeous architectural items.... chandeliers, mantle pieces, etc.

And the vintage department store Suite Lorain was quite fun. I was excited to add 2 sets to my growing Salt & Pepper shaker collection.... for a mere $20 total. (I will blog about that one of these days.)
We met back up with my parents and the Barazotos at the Visitors' Center, and spent a little more time there and in the N.K. Whitney store which was fascinating.After lunch, my parents went to work their afternoon shift as park rangers (they were asked to volunteer as part of their missionary service) giving tours at the stone quarry where the stone for the Kirtland Temple was procurred.

So, the rest of us drove over to nearby Headlands Beach on Lake Erie and spent the afternoon there. Until he put his swim suit on, Jack felt it necessary to pull up his shorts (which were already higher than mid-thigh) to keep the water off, since I had pushed up my capris, and Mary was lifting her skirt. (I love his little tan line.)Mary got a kick out of the waves and swimming out to "sea" with cousin Maddy.Jack had fun trying to skip rocks, showing rocks to Daddy, and couldn't stop giggling every time a wave hit him.Collin had a great time playing in the sand (and "surf") with his cousins.And the boys discovered some "sea weed." We all had a great time, and the kids were reluctant to leave.
We joined my parents at the stone quarry (Chapin Forest Preserve) and had a cookout for dinner, and enjoyed the lovely scenery.
That evening we (the adults) were fortunate to be able to attend a special event in the Kirtland Temple. Every year, the Community of Christ puts on a hymn festival honoring Emma Smith, wife of Joseph Smith, who compiled hymns for the early saints. We sang several hymns as a group (including, of course, "The Spirit of God") and listened to a choir of the young sister missionaries (who did a beautiful job), and a local soloist who sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." In between, different speakers gave the history of each of the hymns. It was a very nice event, and I'm so glad we our trip coincided with this annual event. Afterward Dad took us all out for ice cream at Malley's which was a great way to end our lovely trip. We left for the airport early the next morning. We had such a wonderful time, and were very sad to leave. My parents were terrific hosts, and everything was absolutely perfect. Honestly, I wouldn't have changed a single thing.

August 09, 2007

Ohio Trip - Part 4


Day 5 - Sunday, July 15th

We attended the Kirtland Ward sacrament meeting in the morning. It was fun to see Darin's (my sister-in-law) parents, the Brians, who are also serving in Kirtland. (Her dad is the director of the Visitors' Center.) The ward had been divided the week before, and the bishop was getting new counselors. Because he had been without counselors all week, he had been pretty stressed out.

After church we went with my sister's family over to the Community of Christ (formerly the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" -- they officially changed their name in 2000) visitors' center so that we could take a tour of the Kirtland Temple -- since they "own" it. It was very.... different.

I mean different than what I'm used to, meaning LDS visitors' centers and tours. First of all, they ask you to pay a fee. [It's only $2 a person, but it's the principle that bothers me. They say it's for the preservation of the Temple. It doesn't seem like they have done a very good job of it, but they do have a brand new visitors' center. Hm. Oh well.] After watching a film in the visitors' center, the guide takes you through the temple. It is a beautiful building, and it is wonderful to see. I just wish that instead the tours could be given my LDS missionaries, who would bear testimony and invite the spirit.

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and professional, but you didn't get the sense that the Kirtland Temple was special or important to him... it was just a job. When he briefly mentioned the appearance of heavenly beings, he did so without any feeling. It left me feeling sort of let down.

On the other hand, you can visit a place like the Whitney store and feel a powerful outpouring of the spirit. But still, the Kirtland Temple is a special place where very important things occurred, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit it.That afternoon was the highlight of our trip. Collin had been waiting for this for months. He was finally baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his dad in Kirtland, Ohio at the stake center, along with his cousin (and best friend) Brett. It was a very nice program. [A few days before we found out that there would be a couple of extra children baptized that day. The sister missionaries had been teaching the 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter of a recent convert from Germany. They had planned to be baptized on Saturday, the day before. But when the ward was divided and the bishop was suddenly without counselors and overwhelmed with reorganizing his ward, he asked if they could combine with our program on Sunday to simplify things for him. So, it was going to be a very small affair with just our two families and my parents, but we ended up with a full house, with several families there from the Kirtland Ward to support the new members.]

My mom spoke first about baptism, and did a wonderful job speaking to the children, as she always does. She had them completely captivated. Then Collin and Brett sang a duet, "If The Savior Stood Beside Me." It was so beautiful, and I was so proud of them.
After the baptisms, my dad spoke about the Holy Ghost, and really got the kids involved thinking about the ways they feel the spirit. [My parents are amazing. I am so grateful to have been raised by such wonderful people.]

Then the confirmations took place [Jay gave a wonderful blessing. I was so proud of him, and grateful that he is the father of my children], and Bishop Packer made some brief remarks. It was a wonderful experience. It would have been great no matter where it took place, but it was extra special to be in Kirtland, and I'm so glad my parents could be there.

After dinner and birthday cake for my nephew, Jacob, who was celebrating his 15th birthday, we went for a drive through lovely Kirtland and the gorgeous neighboring village of Waite Hill. Wow.
We ended up at Squire's Castle, where we spent a little time looking around, walking in the woods, and the kids had a blast pretending to be in a real medieval castle.