We had our first hard frost this week, and dipped into the twenties. For the first time this week I started to feel some of those winter blues. When I realized this, I put on Bergamot, Joy and Valor, and right away I could feel a difference, as if my heart felt "lighter". I was very grateful!
One of the reasons I got the winter blues is that I substituted four out of five days last week, which is just too much! Thankfully Bruce helped a ton with keeping the kitchen clean, and Holli, my friend who is living here, worked organizing and cleaning too. We have a clean playroom, a clean food storage room, and clean windows in the kitchen!! You should come over to see it, Mom!
Last Friday I was at a high school in a neighboring school district. I was the Boy's PE teacher, and that was a little wild! I was shocked at the lack of fitness of some of these boys. It was a good reminder that my boys, being soccer players, are in extraordinary shape and I shouldn't take that for granted! I'm really grateful for what good shape they've kept themselves in. The activity in PE was soccer, so when I put the soccer ball down at the halfway line in the gym, I announced that I was a certified soccer referee. You should have see their faces! "Are you really?", was the common question. "I really am," I announced, and then proceeded to call fouls and handballs and all kinds of stuff that they weren't used to. Ha ha That was kind of fun.
Another two days I was a substitute for English Language Development classes. I get a good reaction in these classes when I tell them that I speak Spanish, and that I was born in Mexico City. "Are you really?", is again the common question. I then start spewing off Spanish like a pro and it's really fun to see their faces.
The other fun reaction I get is when I call them by name. "How do you know my name?", they ask. I just smile and say, "I know you're name!". They forget that 1) I'm really good at names and a lot of times remember it from calling roll, and 2) I have a seating chart right in front of me, and 3) I listen to what the students call each other. I get a certain satisfaction, I'll have to admit, out of them thinking I'm really smart! Ha ha
Mary's basketball team is wracking up the wins! The have been winning by at least 20 points in every game. Mary even scored this week, and not on a free throw. Good job Mary! Oh, and speaking of Mary doing a good job - my, oh my - you should have seen her at the Ballroom Dance Class that we started on Friday night. She was dancing around with the instructor with poise and her held high like she had been doing the dance for ages. She has been asking for awhile now to take Ballroom dance classes, and I found an instructor that agreed to come for an hour on Friday nights. We had about nine kids there, ages 12 to 17, and we had a great time learning the Lindy Hop, with more lessons to come on that dance. We did it to the slow beat of "The Pink Panther" and it was fun! I don't know how those boys felt about dancing with "Sis. Holmstead", but they were sure good sports about it. If you want to make comments and ask where Bruce was, I'll forward them on to him for his perusal. Ha ha I hope it will grow and we can get some more dancing skills going on.
I love to dance. I hear a good beat and that's all she wrote. Kevin, our instructor, turned on "Cotton-Eye Joe" after the official hour of instruction was over, and there we all were, Peter and Libby included now, doing the line dance. That was followed by line dances to Men in Black, the Boot-Scootin' Boogie and others. And then some country swing to boot. Later in the evening we played games with some of our adult friends.
Saturday night, I went with Joseph over to the "Stake Prom". All the Priests and Laurels, and their friends 16 and over, from our Stake were invited, and the purpose was to give the kids a prom-like experience, especially for those who may not get asked to dances. Our Stake has a Youth Committee, which is one boy and one girl from each ward. The Youth Committee planned the activities and put up the decorations. Since my calling is that of Stake Dance Director, I went to help in any way I could. We had a good DJ that actually got the kids to dance more than they do at Stake Dances, so it was fun to see that. Joseph had a good time, and I think the others did too.
I have a big announcement about Jesse that I forgot to put in last week. She played the organ for Sacrament meeting for the first time last week! In our ward, we have three different organists, and they rotate months, so this month was Jesse's turn. She played so well, and even played the pedals! Our neighbors across the street have an organ in their home, and they have generously allowed Jesse to go over there and practice, so that has been a huge blessing. Jesse is also the ward choir accompanist, and she's doing a fantastic job for that. On top of all that, she is learning to play the Hallelujah Chorus for the Community Choir. When you're in demand, you're in demand! She is sometimes overwhelmed by all that she's doing, which puts me in a very tough position as a parent. It is generally understood that a parent teaches a child because they are wiser and have "figured things out" because of their experiences. Unfortunately, I have not figured out how NOT to be overwhelmed by responsibilities. So when Jesse gets in that position, I am sadly lacking in how to counsel her, except that to say that it doesn't get any easier.
Josh came home this weekend! One of his best friends from High School, Braiden, who was also his MAD Boys companion, spoke in Church in preparation for going on his mission on Wednesday. He gave a GREAT talk, testifying about the Holy Ghost. It is strange to have Joshua's friends and peers start leaving for their missions. Saturday morning Josh got up and started playing the piano. "Ah," I thought, "Josh is home!" I went in a gave him a hug and told him to keep playing. It's great to hear my children tickle the keys.
I had a revelation this week. I realized that I am consuming extra calories that I don't need because I eat a lot to keep me awake. I know you usually think of that when you're driving, and I do do that, but also just around the house, or at school when I'm subbing. I eat to keep me awake because I'm so tired. So even when I'm home, I find myself getting up and snacking on something if I start to feel drowsy. The conclusion: I need to sleep more! I'm actually really grateful for this insight.
While Josh was here we were able to get a family picture taken, and the result is at the top! We had a lot of fun taking it (not getting ready to take it - that was wild). Hopefully this will go on Christmas cards soon!