I think I was waiting for the school year to begin to really get back into my groove, but it doesn't look like my life will be as simple as I'm used to any time soon. And I'm trying to learn to be ok with that.
One thing I love about our church is how many opportunities we have for service. Paul has been teaching Gospel Doctrine all year (which is his favorite thing to do!), and I've enjoyed serving as a Personal Progress advisor in the Young Women's organization for a while now. So I was a little surprised when we were approached and asked to take on a few additional responsibilities with the Scouts- me as a Den Mother and Paul as the Scout Master. Since I know nothing about scouts (and honestly have had conflicting opinions about it in the past), this was a daunting task to add to my plate. I didn't even know where to begin. But I was just assigned a co-leader who has lots of experience with scouting, and now I'm feeling a lot more settled about it. I know it will be a good thing to be involved in Benjamin's life this way.
Paul and I were also asked a while back to plan the ward Halloween party, which will also take some time and effort. I've got some good ideas for that brewing, but it may be more than I should take on. I've got to remind myself to keep things simple.
I'm also planning the Young Women in Excellence program for this Fall. I'm so not good at this type of thing, but I feel strongly about recognizing the hard work and accomplishments of these girls. I planned this last year too, but it's not one of those things that you can keep the same, year after year. So that's been a little time consuming- just to formulate the feel and direction we want for it.
Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to join our amazing young men and young women on their annual float trip. I was gone from about 5:30 in the morning to about 9:00 at night. It was the first time in recent memory that I'd been away from all of my kids for that long, and it was kind of a nice break. We drove for about three hours each way, and had about 50 people paddling canoes down a river all day. My arms were sore by the end! We stopped in a cave along the way and each took turns diving from the rocks into the dark icy water inside. I sometimes forget how much I love that kind of thing. It was so exhilarating! And exhausting.
I was Nora's teacher this week for Joy School, which is a small rotating preschool that I'm doing with three other moms. I had four sweet little 3 and 4 year olds for three hours on Tuesday and then again on Thursday. I was a little nervous to get started that first time, but by the second time, I had comfortably found my groove. We had a bunch of stations set out- a matching game, puzzles, Legos, math rods (for simple adding and pattern recognition), and letter tracing. We have a calendar and a weather chart and a "Joy School house" with their pictures inside the windows that rotates around to each of our houses. And we usually do a short lesson about something like obedience or something else that is character-based. There are also songs that go a long with the program, but I've had a harder time really embracing them. It's an old program, and a lot of it just feels dated and unnatural to me. Their favorite is free-play time, and I have to remind myself that (at least at this age) unstructured social interaction is probably better than anything I'm teaching them. I am glad I'm doing this with her. I'm also glad to have a break for the next three weeks! :)
I've been loving the bit of extra time I've had with just Lydia twice a week. She is a funny girl, and her developing personality continues to surprise and delight me.
We took the kids bowling a few weeks ago, just for fun.
Then there's the thing I wish I had all the time in the world for. I'm really hoping to have a painting finished to submit to the Church's International Art Competition this fall. I've been studying the New Testament a lot for this, trying to find the right inspiration for a piece. I think I've settled on something, and have been working through sketches, trying to get it right. I have always had a hard time doing things for myself, so this was a big goal for me this year- especially since this particular competition only happens once every four years.
I wish I were better at blogging lately. I forget how nice it is to sit down and write. It's funny that with all that's been going on, I haven't known what to write about for a while. It also might have to do with my regular morning walks that I've started taking with an old friend and new neighbor, that has sort of become my new therapy. So I guess (at least in my mind) I feel like I've already talked through things, and I don't need to record it here. But for the sake of my personal history, I know I'll be glad I took the time to write this stuff down. Even if it sometimes feels like a long ramble-y to-do list.