Tuesday, September 30, 2008

[Insert Clever Title Here]... or It's Been a Long Week

Last week was really rough- a real killer. But, luckily, so far this week has been worse. Yes, I thought I would make a nice, cheerful start to my latest blog post.

On last Wednesday at noon I had cooking group at my house. I started cleaning as soon as Jared got on the bus at 7:30 and pretty much didn't stop until cooking group started-- er, uh, what I meant to say is that my house is always immaculate, so I spent a nice relaxing morning reading fine literature and sipping hot chocolate until everyone arrived. ;) By the time cooking group started I was so exhausted-- I mean, er, relaxed-- that I just wanted to take a nap. But cooking group did go well. I did it on quick and easy dinner ideas (although I didn't mention my most-used ideas: $1.25 happy meal night at McD's and Papa Murphy's) and I made yummy British-style scones.

Yes, cooking group went well: there was only one incident of a stray child getting into nail polish and all of the ladies helped clean up the dishes so my kitchen even stayed clean. (Unfortunately, that was the last time my dishes got done until yesterday... you know it's bad when Dave says, [sniff, sniff] "Something's starting to stink in here. What IS that smell?" and when you've run out of clean dishes even when you usually eat off of paper plates.) I finished the day using the leftovers for dinner and practicing like a maniac for my rehearsal(s) on Thursday morning.

On Thursday I rehearsed with both the flute player and the vocalist. Despite my hour or two of practice with the metronome there was one spot that I just couldn't get at the tempo that she wanted to take (which was, incidentally, at breakneck speed, as fast as you can play). I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I get really irritated when I have to actually practice music when I accompany. I suppose this should help me relate more to Jared when HE doesn't want to practice, but I at least have the excuse that I have put in my practice time previously, so of course everything should be easy now. Right? One of the pieces I was doing for the vocalist was also more challenging so I was having to actually be diligent and apply myself. Grrr.

The good news is that I survived rehearsals, way more practicing than I've done in a while and my two accompanying performances at the concert on Friday night. It actually went well. One of the things that is the most difficult for me in accompanying is knowing when to give up on a hard spot and just fudge it so you don't SOUND like you make a mistake (instead of trying to play something that's too hard and obviously messing up in the performance). The problem is that I'm too stubborn and I want to PROVE that I am good enough to play it, regardless of whether it is really worth the effort to practice it enough to play it right. (In case you were wondering, yes, I did fudge the hard spot, I am ashamed- or proud- to say.)

Saturday we had a huge laundry-folding fest and ran a few errands. Then I went to the General Relief Society Broadcast. Something about the annual broadcast brings out my insecurities. I am comfortable enough with the ladies in my own ward, but going into a big room of smartly-dressed ladies I don't know who are busy chatting with their friends makes me feel like an awkward teenager all over again. It doesn't help that I usually end up going alone and getting there late. Being late was completely my fault this time... even though my initial plan was to just throw on a skirt with the top I was wearing, I was struck with fashion-fear and analyzed my outfit possibilities for 10 minutes. Here is a rough transcript of my fashion debate:

Positive Self: "You look fine. You don't want to be late. Just put on some shoes and go."
Negative Self: "That outfit makes your waist look as big as a cow.
Positive Self: "Well, be realistic. You did have a baby this past year, it's not exactly like your waist is going to look its smallest..."
Negative Self: "But do you need to draw attention to it? Besides, it's a fashion faux pas to wear white after labor day."
Positive Self: "C'mon... it's not a big deal what you wear. Most of it is a broadcast where you'll be sitting in the dark anyway."
Negative Self: "And to wear brown shoes with that skirt- they're darker than the hem of your skirt. That's two fashion faux pas in one outfits. Why don't you just wear a sign that says, 'Hi, I have children now, so I don't care how I look.'? You could at least try-- maybe curl your hair or something if you weren't late already."

So after debating for 10 minutes and making myself late to the broadcast I ended up wearing the exact same thing that I had put on in the first place. So yes, I had two fashion faux pas in one outfit and no, none of my friends disowned me as a result of it. But back to the broadcast...

The broadcast was fine, but my previous conversation with my internal fashion police had put me in a bad mood. The first talk started out with "Sisters, you do so much, but we need to do more!" Great... that was the last thing I needed to hear at the end of a week like this. It did get better as it went on (maybe it's because some of my friends saw me in the dark and invited me to come sit with them-- ha! they couldn't see the white skirt after all!), but I was still feeling a bit down when Elder Uchtdorf got up to speak.

He started out talking about his wife, Harriet. He said that while she is a fabulous cook and makes amazing meals, she inevitably apologizes when she serves a meal. Instead of recognizing that the meal is amazing, she says something like, "This has a little too much ginger" or "It would be better next time if I use less curry and one more bay leaf." He went on to talk about how so many of us get discouraged when we feel like what we give is never good enough and we need to learn to get past that and find joy in using our talents to create things, even if they are imperfect. I really don't know how Elder Uchtdorf could have known about my Thai Chicken Curry, ;) but that talk seemed like it was written for me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jared's Newspaper

Jared brought me a copy of the "newspaper" (a bunch of white paper rolled into a tube, sealed with an "Excellent!" sticker). Inside it says, "daily news paper," "wether report" (with a corresponding daily cloudy/sunny drawing). Saturday had a question mark in the picture space. It says, "do not ask why saturday is a mystery becase the next newes paper is on saturday. mite be a slight chanse of coudynes Just tell me if you want a news paper. bye.

He also brought me a paper that says, "fun craft sine up." It has a space for the parent's name and child's name and says "plese turn in" at the bottom. Wait! I think it's almost time for my fun craft. I'd better go....

Music Mondays

Did I ever mention that I dread Mondays? I know I'm not alone in this sentiment, but I really do dread the start of the work week. Getting Jared on the bus at 7:23, helping Dave get out the door, trying to simultaneously feed or hold Jackson during the whole ordeal. With our particular schedule, the weekends are the main time that we get to spend time together as a family, to relax and enjoy being together. With the arrival of Monday morning we all get sent off our different ways and I am left to pick up the rubble from the weekend. There is such a change in feeling from the weekends to weekdays that I often wake up with a "Where am I? What have I done? What's going on?" panicky feeling. Laundry is piling up, we're out of bread and on our last gallon of milk. Do the kids have any clean clothes for school? What's going on today that I'm forgetting?

This week I am accompanying a singer and a flute player for a concert on Friday. I was asked to play in this same concert as a soloist back at the beginning of the summer. I said yes without realizing how hectic the summer would be and how long our home would be on the market. When the beginning of September arrived I still hadn't picked a piece, let alone started practicing. I was starting to have my recurring, "I have a piano jury this week and don't have my pieces memorized yet" dream again. I finally decided that I wasn't going to be able to pull it off, so I called back and bailed. This shouldn't have been so hard for me, but I have been going through a musical identity crisis of sorts. I have been developing a musical inferiority complex. It doesn't help that this concert was for the American Mothers Association, so everyone else playing in it is a mom. Is everybody just better than me or smarter than me that they can figure out how to keep up with their music and have a family at the same time? Most of the people I know now have never even heard me play the way that I used to and I sometimes doubt if I even can of it anymore.

In the course of September, I was called by two other people who are playing in the concert and asked to accompany them. Today I had my first rehearsal with the flute player. She told me over the phone that the piece she selected was easy and probably sight-reading for me (definitely a plus, given my current schedule) and she would mail me a copy. I procrastinated practicing it until this past week. After starting to work on it, I got really irritated. The piece wasn't really easy at all and had a second section that is supposed to be played pretty much as fast as you possibly can. This is supposed to be easy? Maybe easy for you? Grrr. At the rehearsal today, it turned out that she had changed pieces and this wasn't the piece that was "sight-reading." (OK, maybe I can feel a little bit better about myself.)

To be completely honest, I was intimidated to meet her. She has her doctorate in music performance, has kids, has a music school, etc. and at least in my mind, she seemed to personify "balancing it all" in a way that I just haven't figured out. I prepared to meet this terrifying person, sure that she would see that I can't really play anymore, but she turned out to be very nice, friendly and quite happy with how I played for her. Sometimes I guess I just make things harder than they need to be.

Something to Share

I just wanted to share this blog post from a good college friend of mine. She pretty much summarizes my whole experience adjusting to being a mom. I love how she honestly looks at both the difficulty and the joy of being a mom. (And my mom sang the same song to me, by the way....)

Cookies and Milk and Yellow Balloons

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Ray of Hope

Today was our second week of ward choir since our break for the summer. And for the second time, WE HAD A REALLY GOOD TURNOUT!!!!!!! We had over 20 people!!!! Not to sound excited or anything, but there may actually be hope for ward choir. One of the pieces we are working on we started before summer break, but we just limped along for weeks, trying to do the best we could with 5-7 people. Now we are cruising along, making great progress. The choir sounds good, it is fun, the music sounds great-- I even have an official accompanist now, after a year of directing the ward choir (and actually not just one, but TWO, one of whom is a fabulous organist). I am in heaven!

At the end of the summer I was dreading the start of choir and the endless pleas and petitions to get people to just TRY coming, even just ONCE. I was dreading getting my house ready and the music ready and spending half my Sunday morning only to have a handful of people show up and to never know if we would have enough people to sing when we were scheduled. I felt like I had tried everything I possibly could, but to no avail, so I decided to make one last-ditch effort. At the beginning of September I decided to try the Sunday-School answer to a problem: I fasted and prayed. I know that may seem like an odd thing to fast about, but I was pretty much emotionally at the end of my rope with choir. Not to say that I haven't done other things like emailing and calling too, but I've emailed and called before and not gotten 20 people. So, call it what you will-- an answer to prayer or a fortunate coincidence-- something is different. And as for me, I probably won't wait a whole year before I fast about a something that's bothering me next time. =]

In other news, after making it to church in the middle of the opening song last week (YES!!! A new early record for us!!! That shouldn't be so hard when our church is at 2:00 pm...), today we were back to arriving just in time to wait in the foyer until the end of the sacrament. It really bothers me to be late to church. It bothers me even more when we finally get inside the chapel and it is a missionary farewell and every single seat is taken so the deacons have to set up new seats for me and my kids while I stand there at the back of the cultural hall, squirming inside as I'm sure the bishop and high council speaker can see me and must be thinking, "Who is that family in the back that is coming in so late? Good grief, the meeting's at 2:00 pm, for crying out loud! Could you please be a little louder setting up those folding chairs?" It really does bother me to be late for church. I think being late shows a lack of reverence, a lack of planning and misplaced priorities. So you would think if it bothered me so much I could figure out how to not be late week after week. I don't have an excuse. I know that if you really try hard enough and plan ahead and if it's enough of a priority you can CHOOSE to be on time. At least in theory....

In our efforts to make it to Sacrament Meeting before the closing hymn, Jackson didn't get fed solid foods before we left. Even the cheese stick and cheerios I fed him during church wouldn't cut it- he was still hungry. Luckily, I had some baby food in the diaper bag, so during Sunday School I headed to the mother's lounge where I did my best to hold Jackson on my lap and feed him pureed peaches without adding lovely orange accents to my Sunday outfit.

I made it back for the end of Sunday School and Relief Society. I took my spot at the back with another fellow pre-nursery mom. Anytime I set him down to play Jackson crawled as fast as he could for the front of the room. After a couple of times of this I resigned myself to a squirming, flailing baby on my lap. During Relief Society, I leaned over to my friend and whispered, "If only we had a Relief Society play-yard back here at the back of the room to keep kids that crawl contained." She then had a brilliant idea: we used folding chairs to make a makeshift "play-yard," fencing Jackson in. This worked fabulously for a few minutes until Jackson pulled himself up on one of the chairs and discovered that they made a beautiful, resonant sound when you whack the seat (yes, he does have musical genes). I spent the rest of Relief Society trying to prevent an enthusiastic re-enactment of "The Little Drummer Boy."

We concluded our Sunday with a lovely formal dinner of Waffles, sausage and scrambled eggs. The kids couldn't have been more thrilled with filet mignon.

Friday, September 19, 2008


It is almost dinner time but not nearly close enough to bed time. Dave has been out of town all week and finally gets back from Korea late tonight. I know I SHOULD be cleaning up the kitchen or doing some other productive work, but I'm too antsy. The kids are jumping from the love seat to a pile of pillows, so I think their mood matches mine.

Jackson has taken a liking to the back of the computer. He crawls to the back, looks at all of the pretty colored lights and then starts pulling at plugs until it turns off. (I'm surprised Jared hasn't picked up on this strategy when he gets tired of me being on the computer.)

Jackson is an expert crawler now, but his sense of adventure occasionally gets him in trouble. A few seconds ago Jackson wedged himself between the love seat and the wall.

Last week while my mom was here he was crawling around scavenging for Cheerios under his high chair (believe me, having food leftover on the floor under his high chair is highly unusual ;) and got himself stuck high centered on the bar. He cried until I came and got him unstuck, then he promptly did it again. My mom sent me these pictures with the caption "More Ambition Than Experience."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Piece of Peace

Last weekend I had a really great weekend for no particular reason (well, other than the fact that we had a decent turnout at choir, my house was unpacked from my mom being here and Dave watched Jackson during most of Relief Society). I felt extraordinarily calm and peaceful throughout last week and the weekend despite typical daily pressures and stress. I attributed this to the fact that I had recently read not one, but TWO books on finding peace and I must just be better than the average person at applying these newfound principles to my life (yes, the fact that my mom was here helping me unpack and decorate all week was purely incidental and i am sure had NOTHING to do with it). I was finally starting to really figure life out: it's just a choice that you have to make to be happy and peaceful, to find calm amid the turmoil of daily pressures. Yes, that's definitely it.

My peaceful weekend didn't involve a whole lot of dish-doing, so my zen-like state on Monday morning was greeted with a huge sink-and-counter-full of dirty dishes. The house was a mess, but between getting Jared off to school, making Camryn oatmeal, feeding Jackson breakfast, showering, getting dressed (myself and Jackson), changing diapers and putting Jackson down for his morning nap, not much progress was made to counteract the mess. I started to feel stress creeping back in as I realized that I had to feed Camryn lunch, comb her hair and get her on the school bus, feed myself and Jackson lunch-- and my visiting teachers were going to be arriving in 45 minutes. Needless to say, the house did not get cleaned and because they brought their kids with them we went past my deceivingly picked-up living room and into my pit of a family room where the toys were.

We had a nice chat and lesson. They asked how I was doing and I told them that while usually I was stressed out by having a messy house, today it wasn't really bothering me. I was just learning to take things in my stride. Usually I let myself be unhappy until my house is clean, but since I know my house is going to get cleaned later today, why not just start being happy now and enjoy the whole day? Yes, I really was starting to get this peace thing. If you think about it, they say that God views everything as an eternal now... so if you think of it that way, even though it is messy at the moment, my house is already clean in a certain sense (although if you use that logic, then you could say that even when my house is clean it is really already messy-- unfortunately, that is probably closer to the truth).

After my visiting teachers left I did clean my kitchen and no longer had to pretend to enjoy sparkling countertops and clean dishes. I made a yummy Thai curry chicken for dinner and we had a lovely family night with a fun activity of making scripture cookies. See? All you have to do is have the right outlook and find peace in whatever may be happening. I knew I was good at this peace thing.

Unfortunately, by the time we made the cookie dough it was past the kids' bedtimes, so we rushed them off to bed, leaving cookie dishes in the sink. Jackson was fussy and didn't go to bed until really late so the dishes got left in the sink. Early on Tuesday Dave left for Korea. Jackson woke up bright and early and went with me to take Jared to the bus stop. But that just gave me a good early start to get the kitchen cleaned again. Yes, I can still hang on to peace and calm and order, even in the face of adversity. I'm so proud of myself. While Camryn was at school, I rushed to the mall to make some returns and ran to Trader Joe's. I made it home just as the bus was pulling up. I ran to put away the groceries and then took the kids to run errands.

We started by going to the library, where the kids returned their old books, selected picture books to read and I chose some music CDs and cookbooks. Then we went to Albertson's. Last week we had an Enrichment class on saving money on your grocery bill, so I was newly inspired to strive for frugality. There was an amazing sale on granola bars, cereal and oatmeal ($1 or $1.50 a box) that ended that day, so I was going to go and stock up for food storage. I should have known that calmness, peace and "3 kids in Albertson's" don't go together, but frugality was calling me.... Seventy-five minutes later I was still in Albertson's, with Camryn hanging on a cart piled with 8 boxes of oatmeal, 15 boxes of cold cereal and 3 boxes of granola bars (they ran out...), and Jackson among other things. As I tried to steer our three ring circus toward the checkout, we saw Camryn's primary teacher (whose youngest child is 12). I said hello, but wanted to hide in a hole. "Yes, hi!! I'm the crazy lady whose cart is overflowing with 15 boxes of cereal, 8 tubs of oatmeal, 86 diapers, 2 gallons of milk and a partridge in a pear tree. No, we don't eat anything else but cold cereal and oatmeal, it's a special diet."

We did eventually make it home, but my week went downhill from there. Jackson did not go to sleep until 10:30 pm. I tried putting him down earlier and just going out and only going in to comfort him, but whenever I went back in there was a look of relief on his tear-stained cheeks like he was saying, "Mommy!! I knew you would come! I knew you would come and save me." I finally just gave up and rocked him to sleep. When I woke up on Wednesday I was exhausted. I got Jared out the door for the bus (I watched from the door this time) and then decided to go back to bed. I put on a movie for Camryn and slept (or at least tried to) until 10:15 am. Unfortunately, it is very tricky to actually sleep with a half-awake baby who can crawl in your bed. I finally roused myself enough to get up and showered and then realized it was almost time for Camryn to go on the bus. "Camryn," I said, "we need to feed you lunch." "But mommy," she answered, "I haven't even had breakfast." [Note to self: Add to my list of 101 statements that make you feel like a loser mom.] I fed Camryn, got her on the bus and Jackson took a lengthy 15-minute nap.

We spent the afternoon doing piano class for Jared and his friends. It was really stressful for me and brought back a whole flood of bad memories from when I taught in California: I was frustrated and overly emotionally-involved with the outcome of the class. After the class I retired to the office to nurse Jackson and get some online word game therapy and the doorbell rang. I had forgotten that someone was coming over to practice for a musical number. By the time we were finished it was 7 and the kids hadn't eaten. When I finally got the kids in bed, I was exhausted, emotionally spent and at the end of my rope. "I can't deal with life or even keep up with a subsistence level of existence. I am stressed and tired and emotionally empty and I don't even have anything to show for my efforts." Hmmm, this is unexpected from the new reigning world expert on peace.

And so my week went.... Today went a little bit better. J and C went to the zoo with a friend this afternoon and I spent the full two hours while they were gone wasting time on the computer. It's so much easier to feel fulfilled if you just have low expectations for yourself. But about finding peace... the books are nice and all, but when push comes to shove, if you want peace, get your mom to come and help you for a week.

What I Did All Day

I'm sure all of you have gotten this email forward:
What Do You Do All Day?

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. ... A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide,[etc.]. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. ... As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?' She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?' 'Yes,' was his incredulous reply. She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it.'


Today I got this forward again, but had a sudden, terrifying flash of insight: "How should I feel since this is what my house looks like and I WASN'T reading a novel all day?" ;)

Just For the Record

On Monday night I made a new recipe for dinner: Thai Chicken made with red curry, coconut milk and sweet chili sauce. And, that night, history was made... Jared liked it and thought it was yummy! Camryn, on the other hand, plugged her nose while eating it so she could get her dinner treat. But at least it's a start.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Club

I joined a book club at the beginning of this year. I love to read, but haven't read as much as I used to since having kids, so it's provided some motivation to get back into reading. I grew up reading mostly classics over 100 years old (more recently I've read mostly non-fiction), so it's been a good opportunity for me to branch out a little and try some new stuff.

I just finished reading "The Host," by Stephenie Meyer for book club. We were supposed to read "Freakonomics"- which I was really excited to read- but the book got changed at the last minute. I was very disappointed... it was only extremely grudgingly that I started reading "The Host." Maybe it's just the stubborn side of me, but the "Twilight" books are so over-hyped right now-- it seems like EVERYBODY is in love with them-- that I was trying to avoid Stephenie Meyer altogether as a reaction to it, a protest for finer "literature" or just a way to be different. Besides, I'm not into sci-fi at all and this book is about alien body-snatchers. But, shock of all shocks, I finished the book and I actually really enjoyed it. Who would have thought?

So should I break down and actually read the Twilight series? Should I succumb and become one of the crowd? ;) Let me know what you think... or if you have any other good reads you recommend.

I Forgot...

I forgot to mention in the course of my blog that Camryn has lost her first two teeth. Her two bottom teeth came out within a short time of each other (I think it was around Labor Day weekend). And she started kindergarten and rides the bus. Yipes!

I should also mention in passing that I... er, um, our house has the world's worst tooth fairy. Instead of snapping up the tooth the night it gets put under the pillow, sometimes it takes several days for her to remember to get the tooth and pay up. I like to say that she does this to add suspense to the tooth-losing process (When will your money come? When will she take the tooth? Who knows?), but really, we just have a forgetful, overloaded tooth fairy.

Catching Up

I've been meaning to write a blog post for a couple of days now and I've been sitting in front of my computer to do it for over an hour now. Instead, I have spent that hour dinking with features on my blog rather than actually writing something useful (not that what I write is actually useful, per se, but writing seems more useful than dinking with blog features).

So a couple of updates. After being on the market since April, our home finally sold!! [For those who have been out of the loop for a while, we didn't move far -just to another home in the same town.] After nearly 5 months of making do without most of my furniture, which was left behind in our other house to "stage" it, I have couches again!!!! It's a huge relief to finally have it sold, not to mention that it is nice to not have to always be going over there to water the plants and check for realtor cards. The sale closed just before Labor Day weekend.

Last week my dad had a week-long training in Portland, so my mom flew up with him and they stayed with us for the week. This stay was very opportunely timed: Mom came up to visit just as I was getting all of my furniture and decorating stuff back. So we spent the whole week working like maniacs to unpack boxes, hang pictures and decorate. Umm, actually, to be more accurate, my mom worked like a maniac to unpack boxes, hang pictures and decorate. I did exactly what I usually do, which is to... to... work like a maniac so my house can be a disaster and I can be several loads behind in folding laundry. Except that my mom was here, so my house was not a disaster and I was just behind in folding laundry. The trip went by way too quickly. While we didn't quite finish the entire house, we did more than I could have done in 6 months by myself, including a major excavation/organization of the pit that also functions as my upstairs office. (Thank you mom, you are amazing!) What with my mom providing skilled labor and my dad providing rice pudding in the evening, it was a pleasant week and I was sad to see them go on Friday.

On Saturday we attacked the backyard. Dave dug, leveled and set up the trampoline. I pulled out the weeds in the border and the garden box that were taller than I was. Jared and Camryn played ball or pretended to help and Jackson happily ate dirt, despite Camryn being assigned to make sure he didn't.

Did I mention that we have gone from being tidy yard people to having a "Rogers" backyard? (No offense, mom and dad. For the uninitiated, in a Rogers backyard you let the weeds grow until they are about 2-3 feet high and then you mow them down with the lawnmower until the lawnmower hits something and dies. Then the weeds keep growing until you decide to replace the lawnmower.) At our old house we carefully, lovingly planted and maintained our beautifully landscaped-and-designed-by-me backyard. Since moving here, we wait until the weeds are taller than I am and then figure we'd better go clean them up before they turn into man-eating creatures. I was going to take pictures of our bounteous "crop" of weeds, but then thought better of it. It doesn't help that our backyard is a full two stories below the main floor of the house... it is easier to care about maintaining something when you look at it on a regular basis.

After several hours of working in the yard, Dave had to do some reports for work, so I took the kids to OMSI (the Portland science museum) with Ranell. We had a great trip and got take-out from a great local Hawaiian restaurant, Bamboo Grove, on the way home.

So on to Sunday. With Sunday came the return of Ward Choir after taking the summer off. At the beginning of the summer I was starting to get really frustrated with choir: our attendance was stuck at about 6 people per rehearsal despite my best efforts to recruit. After the summer break I decided to make a renewed effort at increasing choir attendance. My latest brainchild was to have a ward choir potluck to try to get more people to come try it out. I advertised in the ward bulletin. I even mailed out personal, hand-made cards inviting 40 different people to come (this is a lot coming from a person that is as non-craftsy as I am). But, because of a multitude of perpetual distractions (translation: 3 children needing 3 meals a day and clean clothes), the invitations didn't get mailed out until the week of. This didn't worry me- after all we didn't need EVERYONE to come. And then, after I had mailed out the invitations, I realized that I had scheduled our ward choir potluck to overlap with the BYU game. And not just any BYU game... the first time in several years that BYU was playing in the Northwest, in Seattle... the game that half the men in our ward were driving to Seattle to see. Yes. What luck. Needless to say, we did not have a great turnout (Translation: There were four adults besides myself there. My own husband didn't even come, although, to his credit, he missed it because of work and not the BYU game.) So I was a little bit worried at how our first choir rehearsal would go on Sunday. We actually had a reasonably good turnout with several new people. It went well and was very encouraging.

After choir I quickly got the kids ready for church, promising myself for the umpteenth time that we really could be on time to 2:00pm church. We did actually make it there during the opening song, which is better than most weeks. I had decided to shake off my usual "mommy-sensible" style and break out a pair of new shoes that I had only worn once. They are really cute- black, flirty, open-toed, open back high heels- and not only are they real Steve Maddens, but I got them at Ross for $18. Score! (I love the triumph of a good deal.) I didn't realize until I was on my way into church, balancing the huge diaper bag, my purse and my 22 pound baby (at this point I decided it would be advantageous to leave my scriptures in the car) that maybe there was a good reason that this cute pair of 4-inch open back heels had not previously gotten a lot of use. Despite the rush to be on time, I slowly tottered my way into church, careful to not upset my load by any sudden movements.

So there you have it... we finished our weekend off with Schnitzel for dinner and a huge, fat pile o' dishes that we conveniently left until Monday.