Tonight I helped throw a ward activity, and just to bore you all I thought I'd tell you all about it. I'm in the Primary Presidency and in charge of the quarterly activities. I don't know about you, but to my mind there are already WAAAAY too many church activities going on most of the time, so I came up with the clever idea to combine our quarterly activity with a ward activity, which saves everyone a Saturday morning.
Our theme was "Family Home Evening." The activity started in half the gym, where we had everyone bring blankets and sit on them for a picnic feel. Between rows of blankets we taped long pieces of newsprint, with markers, for the kids to draw on. First, a member of the bishopric spoke and shared his testimony for just a few minutes. Then we had had a 25-30 minute panel of people from all stages of life (young families, mixed ages, singles, empty nesters, part member families, etc.) talk about their family home evening and field questions from the audience. We wanted to have a mock FHE by a family in the ward, but seeing how this past week was Spring Break, that didn't work out.
After the panel, we broke up into FHE activities that families could wander to as desired. Our ward always talks about how much they just want to mingle and talk at activities, so we let the rest of the evening be casual so they could chat and hang around as desired. (This was my part of the activity.)
I set up four rooms:
1) FHE treat cooking demonstrations by the Achievement Day girls. Soooooooo cute! We held it in the nursery and there wasn't nearly enough room because everyone wanted to come watch! The girls glowed with culinary success and fame.
2) Two YW led FHE games activities in the RS room. They helped me with this activity and will again with the next one to fulfill one of their YW projects. The favorite game was Primary Song Charades and the little bit I saw was riotously funny.
3) FHE craft making assignment charts out of Chinet paper plates. Plates, markers, scissors, and brads, the easiest craft ever and I was amazed how popular this one turned out. The room was packed and we actually had to ask people to go do something else for a while at one point. The YSAs turned theirs into real works of art, truly impressive what they could create with crayola markers and paper plates!
4) Musical Chairs. Why? Because I do musical chairs at every Primary activity and it's always a hit. I love musical chairs. I think I played it every one of my birthday parties until, um, I left home for college and didn't have any chairs to play it on anymore. ha ha.
Finger foods were brought by the families and left on tables in the gym for people to munch on as desired. Just napkins, no utensils. Water and lemonade for drinks. Very simple, which was our goal for most of the activity. Huge kudos to Brandy, our ward activity leader, who spearheaded the whole shebang. We had a marvelous turn out, I thought, and all the families seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Another activity done, and seems to be a success!
Home again, home again! After a long and unbelievably full visit to Utah, Jed and I arrived home and have settled in at last.
The greatest accomplishment of the trip was that we survived the trip! Jan (mother in law), Clark (brother in law and future groom), Jed and I DROVE. Yes, that would be ONE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED and twenty three miles in the car, two years old and twenty something weeks pregnant... I think we deserve a medal.
Despite Clark's dogged obedience to the GPS, we did manage to find our way across the United States, allbeit on a route never before conceived of by man and only vaguely understood by those of us in the car. (Exciting moments involved finding ourselves going in circles in the St. Louis Children's Hospital parking lot, mistakenly ending up stuck on a toll road in Kansas with no idea where it headed, and thus making an unexpected detour via... Colorado?) (Note to self: Next time bring map.)
Jed behaved as his usual angelic self in the car on the way there, except he wouldn't sleep. Yes, from 5 AM to 7:30 PM he cheerily forced his eyes open, too thrilled at the trains, trucks and coloring books to rest. And then he slept for two hours. And then he was up all night, where I (for half the night), and Jan (second half of the night) became intimately acquainted with every hallway and tourist brochure that the Denver Super 8 has to offer. Absolutely miserable. But we survived and made it to Utah the next day.
The first week was filled with wedding festivities for our beloved Clark and Kelsie. Grandma Janete and my parents blessedly cared for the child as I hopped from one in-law feast to another, then home again for meals in between. (Apparently convinced that I, too, was bearing octuplets, I gained eight pounds over our stay. Wowzers. Seriously, I never feel full. Me hungry all the time!) Michael arrived later in the week to serve a whirlwind two-day stint as supportive sibling and professional photographer. The wedding was fabulous in every way.
The only downside to all the festivities involved so many beloved friends and family who I didn't get to see, being caught up in important family events. Cousins, friends, mission companions, bridals showers all had to be missed, but please please please know that I love you!!!
The rest of the trip passed in a blur of heavily frosted cakes, beet salad, tapioca pudding and prime rib (I love my mother. Soooooo much. Never before has a whimsy for prime rib been so quickly and willingly indulged.) Jed became so overstimulated that he ran in circles shouting "Eric! Eric! Kick Balloon!" for hours and hours on end. All the attention from doting grandmas and grandpas and aunties and uncles turned him into a raging megalomaniac, shouting orders at virtual strangers like a miniature drill sergeant. Demands for cookies and "pizzas" (pepperoni, his favorite food) were immediately fulfilled, only increasing his heady sense of world dominance.
I think the starring moment came actually after we came home, at the third wedding reception here in Indiana. Kelsie's 11 year old sister, Katy, became Jed's main squeeze. When she didn't immediately respond to a shouted order, he walked up behind her in the middle of the reception and shouted "Katy! C'mere!" while giving her a good grab on the backside with both hands. That got her attention real quick. Then he casually draped his arm around her (finding her hiney a convenient arm resting spot) and led her across the room to do his bidding. Ah, my young Don Juan. That probably won't work quite so well in 14 years.
This new baby is really going to rock my little ego-centrist's world, that's for sure. Poor kid won't know what hit him when all the sudden somebody ELSE is getting some attention?!
The trip home was considerably more restful. Grandma Jan and I enforced a "quiet time" that was surprisingly effective and Jed took a nap. We also went all out with the bedtime routine and he slept like a lamb. Hallelujah! We made it home with a couple day's rest before the next round of wedding partying when Clark and his new in-laws arrived for the local reception. This involved even more of those little frozen cream puffs that are so my weakness. (They are like pregnant woman crack cocaine, I swear.)
This weeks things have finally quieted down. I've unpacked everything, prepped my garden, caught up on the laundry, and cleaned the house. So nice to be home!
PS - Michael promises that photos are forthcoming.