While I'm at it I should post some updates about this week:
Last weekend's ward campout was cancelled due to rain. The kids were disappointed, but accepted it without too much fuss. We enjoyed a Friday evening at home, and a busy Saturday. We bought a trailer to pull behind my SUV for going to the dump, etc. (since we sold Nate's truck the week before, I already mentioned that, right?). Anyway, we got that and the wood to finish the new shelves in the storage room downstairs, and we got the house all cleaned for the open house that night.
I LOVE entertaining. I love how it forces me to clean more deeply, I love the excitement just before the first guests arrive - making sure everything is set out just right (although my kids were so nervous that nobody would come, they were looking out the window every 2 seconds). We ended up with a houseful. The entire main floor was literally PACKED with people - I was so glad that we could all show the Bischoff family how much we love them and will miss them - there were a number of conflicts that night, but so many people really made an effort to be there. It was great. Right after the party when the last guests had left, the kids were in bed, and the leftovers were put away we just sat and listened to the silence. It felt so empty and quiet. But, it had been loud enough and full enough that we just enjoyed the emptiness and each other. It was a great night.
The next day after church we went to a baptism for a boy in our ward. It was a great baptism - I love how the wards really gather together to celebrate these events. Most of us live far from family, so there is often no extended family present. But, the room is always packed - standing room only - with ward members showing support. Because it was Fast Sunday there were no refreshments - they said to come over to their house around 7 or 8 for treats. Now, by the end of the baptism it was 5 and everybody had a 20-45 minute ride home, then needed to make and eat dinner, and it was a school night, and had been a long day already, so you would think that not many people would go for refreshments (especially because their house is at least 20 minutes from most of the ward). But, you would be wrong. This is the Frischknecht family and they are well known for their desserts. They are GREAT cooks. As Vicki said, "when the Frischknechts are serving dessert you GO and you go EARLY." She isn't kidding. We got there at 7:10 thinking we would be among the early ones and they had already finished off the first trifle and all of the creme brulee's! Luckily - there was plenty more. She had made a "mormon" tiramisu that was AMAZING. I have always wanted to try it, but what with the espresso and liqueur, never did :) She said that you just get a good recipe, soak the cookies in milk, and use cocoa powder for the top. It was like cake in custard - really good custard (and cake and custard are two of my very favorite things). I am amazed that I only had one piece (ok, I helped Grace with hers, you know - a bite for you, a bite for me, a bite for you ....)
Anyway, it was great, but the kids got to bed late again (Sam was revelling in having had 2 parties in a row!) The next night we had friends over for FHE. Yes, we did it - I was so nervous about completing the Bishop's challenge of inviting a non-member family over for FHE, but we did it. We prayed for help, and it ended up being so easy. A couple of weeks ago Sam was looking at some copies of the Book of Mormon that the Elders left at our house and asked us to try to give away. He asked if he could give one to his friend Jonathan. Jonathan rides the bus with him and lives pretty close - just outside our neighborhood. I have talked to his Mom frequently, and the boys play at each other's houses frequently, but I had never met the father. I asked Sam if he thought that we should invite Jonathan's family for FHE. He was thrilled. I ran it by Nate really quick and hurried to make the phone call before I chickened out. She was excited and said that they had plans that Monday, but would love to come the next Monday. They have boys the same ages as Sam and Isaac and an older girl. I was worried that the girl would be bored, but she was so fun to talk to and seemed very comfortable. We played games and had treats. Nate and Jose seemed to get along well, and although we didn't talk religion we told them that we are Mormon and why we have Family Home Evening. They are Catholic, but don't go to church regularly or consider themselves religious. I told her that Sam would like to give Jonathan a Book of Mormon and she said that would be fine. Her only concern was that it would hurt Sam's feelings if Jonathan wasn't excited about it. I think that he will be fine. He hasn't given it to him yet because he wants to write in it first.
So, this made THREE parties in a row, three late bedtimes, and a very tired Sam on Tuesday morning. Tuesday was packed with errands and commitments - the kids and I left the house before 9 AM and other than running home to meet Sam's bus and pick him up we didn't get home until 8 PM. But, I got alot done, including Visiting Teaching (yes, it was the 30th - at least it got done :) Wednesday was a cleaning day, babysitting day, and Violin lesson. Sam is doing well and is ready for his first recital on the 17th. When he is focusing he sounds great - when he is not he sounds like a dying cat. I made the mistake of telling him that the other day. Now he gets great enjoyment out of playing out-of-tune and calling it the "dead cat song." Boys.
Thursday Nate's Uncle Van and Aunt Debbie arrived. Van is Linda's older brother. He is a dentist in Idaho Falls. Neither of them have ever been to New England, so they planned a visit to come see the fall colors. We spent an enjoyable evening with them and then Friday they drove up to Vermont. They are traveling around Vermont, Northern NH, and Maine, and will be back here on Monday evening. Tuesday and Wed they will visit sites in Mass. and they fly out Wednesday evening. Nate's parents arrive Thursday evening so they just miss each other!
Last night Sam and I attended the "Ice Cream Social" at his school. It is a fun fundraiser, and I volunteered at the cake walk for an hour. Then we enjoyed ice cream and came home to watch a movie with Dad (we also had 2 sweet friends with us - Annie and Eliza Gustafson. Their Dad, our Bishop, is out running the St. George marathon, and their older brother was playing with his band at the High School football game. They are such sweet girls - they were a great help with the kids and with dinner, and Sam and I enjoyed having them come to the Ice Cream Social with us. We thought that with all of us we would surely win something from the cake walk, but, alas, we did not.)
Today is Nate's half marathon in Hollis, and then trying to watch General Conference and get to the dump and other Saturday errands and jobs. I finished my last quiz for my course on Thursday and ordered my final exam. Nate is taking the day off on the 13th (Sam is out of school for Columbus Day) so I will take the test then. As long as I get a 62% on the final I will be the proud owner of a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. It will be great to have it done!
Ruth - the kids just left the FUNNIEST message on your answering machine for Noah's birthday today. Enjoy! And HAPPY FIFTH BIRTHDAY NOAH! WE LOVE YOU!