Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween and Potty Training

We started out the Halloween festivities with trick or treating to the sorority and fraternity houses on campus followed by a carnival on the quad.  Freddy was the cutest pirate I've ever seen (he kept the eye patch on the whole time!) Charlie was a dragon, Gwen was a princess, and Alec was a soccer player (perfect since we had to leave the carnival quite early so we could get him to his soccer practice). 

Then Friday before Halloween, Freddy and I helped with Gwen's class party:

Somewhere during this week, Freddy decided all on his own that he wanted to go in his potty so he could get some candy. He sat and sat for a long time and eventually did go! Hurray!  I'm not ready to really invest in staying home all the time so I'm still putting him in diapers all the time and only suggest every now and then if he wants to try and go on his potty. Notice the tape on Freddy's knee? He likes to play 'doctor' with me while we wait on the potty and take turns putting pieces of tape after hearing elaborate made up stories of how we got hurt. Charlie started the whole tape thing as a way to appease Freddy too-often requests for band aides whenever he gets bumped. 

Saturday we woke up early and got out of the door to finish setting up for the Branch Halloween Trunk or Treat and Carnival. (I had already been over to the church twice to try and set up but never had enough time to really get much accomplished). Then we went straight from setting up to tailgate at the MSU football game. We found coupons for $5 tickets since we have scouts in our family and therefore could afford to all go!

It was SO. HOT. What is with the 88 degree heat on the last weekend in October!! But the view and slight breeze from our tippy top seats was pretty awesome.

Then we left the game before half-time to arrive at the church barely on time to change into costumes and get ready with everybody there. The cub scouts, and YM/YW and some Activity Day girls and the Elders Quorum all set up some carnival games in the classrooms. Charlie chose to prepared by himself a blindfold 'pin the face on the pumpkin'

Alec did a 'Guess How Many' candycorn game. They both did so well staying happily at their stations helping the kids play and handing out candy.

Decorations were donated by a friend from the Branch who LOVES Halloween. The chili cook-off turned out good (even though my chili wasn't very good) and we had a good turn out of non-members, so thats always fun! The trunk or treating was good, we had designated parking spaces to avoid cars driving around all the kids and handed out glow sticks to all the kids.  Chris took the kids home and I stayed after to help clean up (along with ALOT of other non-primary people from the branch) We cleaned up so fast we were done by 7:30!! Whew. I'm so glad its over and I'm glad it turned out so well. I wish more people we invited came, but Miss Black came again, so that was very fun. I loved wearing my old costume from a Multi-Stake multicultural youth dance event. I'm not exactually sure what it was, but I told everyone I was a cuckoo clock girl.

By Monday the 31st, we finally had time to carve pumpkins and ate left over chili before driving over to a friend's place to go trick or treating. We already had so much candy at home from our previous parties that we only did like 10 houses and then called it quits.  This time Alec was a grim reaper kind of dude, Charlie was wolverine, Gwen the princess and Freddy: Superman.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Primary Program, say Goodbye to family

The Primary Sacrament Presentation is where all the kids ages 3-11 participate in the main church service by presenting the concepts they've learned about all year through songs and speaking parts. As the Primary President, I'm kind of in charge to plan it and practice it and make sure it all comes together. The thing I cared the most about was that the children's parts were authentic to their actual thoughts and feelings. I came up with a bunch of questions that covered all the topics we've learned each month and then I sat down one-on-one with most of the children and asked them questions. I recorded our conversations on my phone and then sat down at a computer later and typed it out. I tried to gauge what topics the children had the most to say about and then delve a little deeper with questions to really explore their testimony in that area. Then picked some thoughts of theirs to string together in a little part, grouped those by topic and tried to come up with a seating arrangement that spread out the younger kids amongst the older kids and take into account their height, where they're family sat usually in the chapel, who needed to sit closer to an adult and I tried to group kids together based on their topics.   I normally consider myself a non-stresser-outer, but for some reason I was feeling really really anxious about this. Not that I was worried about anything specific because I knew we had prepared a good program, I knew the kids had chances to practice, I knew I had prepared an organized way for the kids to be comfortable with the flow of the program (color coded song/parts), I knew the kids could sing their songs loud, I knew that it actually doesn't matter if anyone 'messes up' but for some reason, I just felt it looming over my head. Also, I had to think about what we would do in Sharing Time for that Sunday since it was a Teacher Council Meeting Sunday and it would just be me and one other leader for all of the kids. I can't imagine how challenging this must be in a bigger ward. We only have 21 kids between 3 and 11. I know a lot of other units have twice that!

The morning of, we got there early and I had time to make sure all the stools where in the right places and the program proceeded without a hitch! One little boy's mom told me ahead of time he wasn't going to say his part, and that is totally fine, and I super appreciated the heads up. I was so focused on making sure my prompt was on the right page, and that I moved the stool at the right time that I wasn't able to really soak in the whole feeling of the program so by the end when it was my turn to share my testimony, I didn't have a nice warm buzz to let me know that what I was saying was really true. I shared what I was thinking I might share and was just glad that it was almost done. I couldn't tell how it went. Everyone told me it was a great program, and were very complimentary about the kids' singing and their unique parts and how well it flowed etc.. but sometimes its hard to believe them when I didn't experience some great spiritual moment, myself. 

Anyway, It was SOOO nice to have my parents and mother in law there to help. They watched Freddy during the meeting since I needed Chris to sit up on the stand with the kids to help take the place of teachers who couldn't be there. Then my parents worked in the Nursery, and Dixie played the piano in Primary for singing time. 

I kept expecting to feel such a burden lifted and to feel so happy and joyful, but honestly I was close to tears most of the day and needed some time in my room to cry on Chris' shoulder in a confused state sometime in the afternoon. There were still so many decisions I needed to make and things to take care of even after the program ended that I still just felt a heavy burden and sharing/singing time was CRAZY with the kids who were so excited that the program went well and was over.  Maybe also the heavy feeling is the big Halloween Carnival, we are in charge of in a week. I don't know. But it was weird day.

Thom and Brittany left right after sacrament meeting. My parents and Dixie stayed until Monday afternoon. It was fun to go on another run with them, and have their help getting the house in order again: laundry, extra beds put away, bathrooms cleaned etc. Dad even installed a disposal for me!! Hurray!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Charlie turns 8 and is baptized

By Friday night, everyone had arrived! Grandma Dixie had come on Tuesday, Thom and Brittany and kids arrived around 5:30AM Friday morning (they drove through the night!) and Grandma and Grandpa Betteridge flew in Friday night. I let the kids stay home from school on Friday to spend time with cousins and Grandma Dixie. Chris helped me decide to stop trying to finish more projects (I still had a big frame I wanted to make for our maps) and just enjoy time with family.  We hung around home, playing outside and inside. The weather was beautiful. 

With so many adult hands around, we got everything ready for Saturday the night before: Crepes and cut up strawberries for Charlie's breakfast, fruit bread, cheese ball, programs printed and folded cake made and decorated etc. It made for a really really nice Saturday day.  Charlie's birthday started off with breakfast in bed: Crepes, with strawberries and whipped cream. 

Then some of us adults went for a run and then Charlie got to open his presents. His grandparents and cousins totally made this part awesome since our family is not buying gifts this year so we can save money for Disneyland next January.

Then we got to the church by 9:15 to get everything set up. We had the program in the Relief Society room so we could all sit on soft chairs and not have to set them up. Then we moved to the Primary Room where the font was for the actual baptism, then we had a table set up with some food in the Gym for afterward.  The program itself was really nice... dare I say, perfect? I mean that sounds pretentious but really I felt the spirit so strong and it was simple and not too long and we filled up all the seats and even Charlie's teacher from last year (and my friend) came! Chris gave a wonderful talk on Baptsim, Thom played the piano, Grandma Heather led the music, Alec said the opening prayer, Grandma Dixie played the piano for Mom and I to sing a duet for a special musical number, "Baptism", Chris performed the baptism with Grandpa Betteridge and Thom as witnesses, then we watched the Bible Video of Jesus getting baptized while Charlie and Chris changed then Brittany gave a great talk on the Holy Ghost and then Charlie was given the gift of the Holy Ghost, then the Branch President said a few words and Jackson gave the closing prayer.  I really enjoyed singing with my mom. A lot. 

I love this kid so much! He was so cute as he picked out everything. Chris gave him the assignment to read some verses out of Mosiah 18 to prepare himself for the covenants he would make at Baptism. He read those same verses every night for a week. He makes up his mind so quickly about who he wanted to do what at the baptism and was really happy with his new set of scriptures that Grandparents Archibald gave him. He's been reading out of the bible from it every night since then.

I never took any pictures of the food but it was all so yummy and well balanced. I didn't decorate at all, just a simple white table cloth with colorful food: A veggie tray with dip, apple slices and caramel, 3 big loaves of fruit bread, a huge cheese ball with crackers, and then my friends made two kinds of cookie: snickerdoodles and molasses ginger chocolate chip.

Charlie's one requested activity for his birthday was to play 'two-hand-touch' football with everybody. The weather was perfect and everyone participated and had fun (at least when a handful of us weren't getting bit by ants from an invisible ant pile somewhere on the field)

Then we went out to dinner at the local 'best BBQ in town' (Petty's). Then more playtime outside and we finished the day with cake and ice cream. Dixie made the cake and Chris decorated it.

SO SO SO SO fun to have family in town for a special occasion. We're so pleased with Charlie's choices and with the young man he's turning out to be... so full of life, so happy, so talented in everything he tries to do, so eager to try new things or make new friends.