On Wednesday night my visiting teachers brought a plate of baked goodies. I am ashamed to admit that I ate 90% of it by 3pm Thursday afternoon. Best sugar cookies (hello coconut extract!) and chocolate caramel oat cookie layer bars I have EVER tasted! I needed to bake cookies for the Relief Socity meeting cookie exchange this evening but due to my sugar overload, I felt good about simplifying my afternoon/evening by not baking. Should I bother going to the meeting if I wasn’t participating in the exchange? Hmmm. Instead, I took the chance to make extra chicken noodle soup and have my kids help me take it to a couple sick neighbors' homes. And then we sat on the couch all snuggled together trying out some new free math and science apps on the iPad that my homeschooling friend told me about. I really enjoyed my time with them before heading to the RS activity. I was reminded that this is the season of my life where it's all about these little ones. Man, that's hard to remember!
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I've just returned from our ward's simple but fabulous Relief Society Christmas meeting. I've been in wards where it's a complete extravaganza of the senses - the food, the table settings, the music and program, just beautiful all around. This ward's monthly meetings are more low key yet no less deliberate in their goal to edify the sisters who attend. I love it all and always feel I've missed out if I haven't made the effort to get out the door. This time they had a nice simple message that touched me followed by a great assortment of pound cakes shared by the sisters. And of course the cookie exchange for those that wanted to participate. I'm so glad I didn't let that keep me from going anyway. I tried my first cake pop tonight and now understand the craze! Yum! And another friend made a flan cake - half flan, half cake in a bundt pan drenched in caramel. Serious YUM and purdy to boot! I don't even like flan much, but this was amazing! I got to chat with some of the sisters I don’t usually get to and I always love that.
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The other night I had left our apartment door open in the echo-y shared stairwell to run some things down to our storage room. I'm always nervous to leave our door open because of our noisy little people. But as I came back up the stairs, what I heard touched me and it was like a light bulb going on. I heard my family but wasn't with my family. Easton was at the table counting out his multiplication tables. McKay and Morgan were using the couch as a trampoline. And Ryan was trying to juggle conversations with all three from his digs in his Man Chair. There wasn't any screaming, it was just my busy little family doing their thing. And I wanted to be back in there with them. I actually wanted to enter that world that had me running this way and that 24/7 because I love them all so much!
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I finally got Morgan started in German kindergarten last week so now we are leaving the house by 9 each morning. And while she's adjusting, I never know how long the drop-off will take and therefore how presentable I need to be. The first few days she loved it but now that the newness is starting to wear off, she's worn out after two hours. No one in her class speaks English, although one 4 yr old girl can but doesn’t want to. It's stretching me to use what little German I've acquired to communicate with the teachers who barely understand any English. It’s rough. In all, I'm just excited for Morgan to have this opportunity and feel it's worth the sacrifice to put myself out there and get out the door each morning.
. . .Just this morning, I had to load up Morgan and Jake for a dental appointment for Morgan. I was running on time and pretty happy about that - I'd even showered and had done my hair and even had makeup on today by 8:30! But the van was dead and I had to call my busy neighbor over to give me a jump. Yesterday, I got winter tires on the van (600 euro) only to find that one of the sliding doors refused to open. We just fixed the other side door last Friday for 200 euro. Does it ever end?!
Those days of December were rough but in the midst of it I felt guided. There seemed to be a purpose and lesson for me in it all. It was all about that dreaded "getting out the door" which let's be honest, can be so overwhelming especially in December! But as I got out the door I was thinking about why. Was the effort worth it? Turns out it was, but it was never pretty and perfect.The themes and filters I viewed it through was to make time to serve others, to take time to re-center myself, and to stretch myself.