This past Sunday night was another recent convert/investigator fireside for our Spanish areas. My dad and I joined Aaron at the meeting. I was prepared to share my testimony if needed but wasn’t. Deep sigh of relief. This evening fireside was well attended by both members and investigators. Prior to the meeting starting, I did use my Spanish by introducing my self to several members. As I spoke with them they would share with me how highly they think of Aaron. He is loved so much by the Spanish members, he really connects with them. Aaron and his counselors are in the process of trying to make the firesides more of a spiritual and impactful event. Historically they have had the missionaries run this meeting and they invite as many investigators, recent converts, and members that want to attend. The meetings are generally testimonies of the recent converts and for the most part they are stories on how they came to know the Church and what it has done for them. They're good meetings, but not a lot of testimony, more story telling. I agree that the firesides need to be more of an event that includes special musical numbers, a video or two and a few testimonies.
I used Monday as a p-day again to do laundry, cleaning (I currently do not have a helpler) and catching up with what the kids are doing in school. The mention of school makes me realize how much of the academic pressure my kids and I have felt lately. It’s been hard for me as the mom because I feel like I have let my kids down. I say that because I usually know the expectations and how to wade the educational waters to help them but this week I totally felt blindsided. Just one example is the makeup tests. If the student doesn’t do well (gets below 75) they are allowed to retake the test but not quizes. The catch is that no matter how well they do on the makeup they can only receive a 75 as a high for their grade. So basically they are not allowed to fail but only allowed to pass. This is a hard policy for me to adjust to. I understand that those who didn’t study well and did poorly shouldn’t get the same opportunity to have the same grade as the students that have study hard and done well on the first test. It’s just hard to make the adjustment when you never experienced that policy before. So not only are the kids learning a lot in school but their mom is as well. ;) This is a big STRESS for me right now but I will survive. I will also help my kids survive and be SUCCESSFUL! On a somewhat happy note….. Bode had another football game on Monday and his team was crushed by another all black team. These kids look like grown men as 7th graders and some of them are amazing athletes. Bode runs around like he's doing something, but I think he's just happy not to die at the end of each game. He loves his teammates and is happy to playing so it’s all good in my eyes and is doing his best not to get hurt. What more can a mother ask for?
The rest of my week was full of my Wellness Updates with the missionaries. The days are long and exhausting, but they give me a chance to connect with our missionaries in a more personal way. I get a chance to see them from a different perspective and they me as well. I was more prepared this week for the Wellness Updates with a Tabata based exercise handout that they can do in their apartment, recipe ideas handout, and an 8-week walk/run program in preparation for our President Hall Christmas 5K. I have learned from these chats that our Elders eat some form of frozen pizza almost everyday for lunch, really unhealthy TexMex with the members especially our Hispanic members and investigators (sometimes 3 meal appointments in one night not on purpose) for dinner and some kind of breakfast. Some try really hard but because of time constraints and just long days they don't want to make anything so it's either fast food or the frozen aisle. I suppose I would do the same thing in their situation, but not a great diet. Most of our missionaries start gaining weight within the first two months of arriving and they only get a 1/2 hour for exercise every morning so I’m trying to help them think differently about both their exercise and eating habits.
At YM/YW this week Zac and Bode had an Iron Chef activity that they really enjoyed. Zac thought their meal was the best and it looked as if the judges felt the same until Rob Nielsen decided the dessert made by one of the YW groups was better then Zac’s group. His comments swayed other judges and the girls ended up winning. Zac felt Rob “robbed” his group of the Iron Chef title. It sounds like it was a great activity and one that I think I might like to be apart of in the future.
Dad stayed busy Tuesday and Wednesday with the senior missionaries with their miscellaneous jobs that needed to get done. He was always home by 2 or 2:30. He also got to go to the temple on Thursday morning with a sister in our ward that works in the temple on Thursdays. Dad was able to do two sessions. He was a happy camper even if he had to leave at 6:15 a.m.
The kids had Friday off for the Fort Bend County Fair. I liken it to our UEA, it’s like a state holiday. I took the opportunity to ride my bike with Bode on his bike to his school. He has wanted to ride his bike to school but crossing a major road, dealing with a lock and not knowing how long it takes to get to the school has deterred him from doing so. So off we went. It takes between 12 to 15 minutes depending if the lights are in your favor so we decided that if he leaves 20 minutes before he wants to get there he will have plenty of time to get to his first class. At first he only wanted just 10 minutes because he said I rode too slow and that he could/would definitely ride faster than we had. He will leave 20 minutes before. ;) Jessie went to a Transylvania II with Avery. She loved it! Afterwards they swam at Avery’s house. Jessie’s friend Natalie wanted to get together as well so we decided that the three of them would have a girls night at our house. Oh how Jessie loved that! Aaron and I enjoyed a date night. Oh how I loved that!! The boys hung at the house with the girl night going on along with my dad. Unfortunately the kids Bode and Zac age don’t really hang out that much. It’s crazy!
So on my Saturday bike ride I determined that we will have them invite friends from school and the ward to come to our house for swimming, pizza and hanging out. I better see what the boys think before I actually start inviting. ;) Our kids just miss the socializing that was such a natural everyday occurrence before. I hope to help that happen more. Baby steps, right? After my ride, Aaron took Jessie on her bike to see if he could do the same for her like I did for Bode. It wasn’t as successful due to a very long wooden bridge that goes over the bayou but we will work on it. When she came home she, dad and I hit the pool for some swimming. Did I mention I love having a pool in my backyard? Jessie and I then had a girls’ day that included painting our nails and doing our make-up and hair. We looked and felt beautiful for the Women’s Conference. I loved the messages that were shared. Jessie loved the service project of stitching Christmas stockings for the Houston Women’s Shelter that the stake had planned prior to the conference. While we were at the conference the boys went to the Clements High football game. Unfortunately another loss for Clements but Aaron said they are a big team, bigger than those in Utah. Also that they would probably beat the high schools in Utah.
Another week of Sugarland adventures from the Halls. Never a dull day. ;)