We had a ward cook-off yesterday. I entered east carolina barbecue pork and crusty bread and Micah entered ghost chili. I also made pumpkin rolls for the dessert category. We didn't win anything. There were so many other amazing desserts, I wasn't surprised. And Micah's chili cooked a little too long, making the beans disintegrate, so it wasn't the best he's made. But my pork was amazing! I was quite surprised that it didn't win anything (there were maybe a dozen entries and 5 prizes?), lots of people told me how good it was. I guess I just didn't have any fans at the judge's table! It was still fun though, and we're still winners because we have so much leftover food that I don't need to cook at all today :)
Today at church, we divided nursery. It was amazing!!!!! There are 7 kids that will be turning 3 this year who are now in senior nursery and 4 kids (plus Natalie) in junior, with many, many, many more on the way in the coming months. Our ward will have 15+ kids turn 18 months during the year, so we may even need to divide again later on. But we are so relieved. The last few weeks have been so horrible, we would leave church every Sunday feeling totally dead. The real problem was the age ranges- the older kids were always bulldozing the littler kids over- a couple are super active- and it seemed that anything that we could do to engage and entertain the older kids was too dangerous for the little kids. We were in junior nursery today and it was such a relief!!! I mean, aside from a few mopey missing-mommy-moments, the little kids were just so much more mellow. They're not as fast, so when they leap up and run away from singing time, we are fast enough to catch them. Before, I wasn't sure we could handle being in Nursery any longer, but now I'm sure we can make it until July, when Natalie can go to nursery on her own and we will probably (hopefully?) be released. I know that the primary presidency have their sights on our eventual release, but I'm a little nervous because they have had trouble getting enough nursery workers called to even split the kids into 2 groups. Since we were called as soon as we got back from Boston, I haven't been in Relief Society since last April, so there are tons of new sisters who I don't know, plus I'm excited to have an hour and a half each week that I can just spend at church sitting and listening. It will be amazing.
In other news, we watched seasons 2 and 3 of Downton Abbey in 2 weeks. I am relieved that we're through; I now have an extra hour or two every night to clean, do projects, or sleep. But I really enjoyed it. Micah was enjoying it a lot too, even though he didn't watch most of the first season with me, but the end of season 3 made him so upset, he declared that he would no longer allow the show "a place in his heart". I understand that they had to do it and am not that angry, since that storyline was basically over and they really needed to move on to something more interesting. Afterall, in the true soap-opera tradition, as soon as the drama ends, they must start some more! Downton Abbey, for those with only limited knowledge of it, is a PBS series about an aristocratic household in the early 1900's. I call it a soap opera, but it's really well acted and the scenery and cinematography is positively delicious. It follows the members of the family as well as the servants working there and I think the characters are all so unique and interesting.
Natalie has been really independent this week, spending as much as 30 minutes to an hour playing by herself. It has allowed me a lot of time to prepare for the cook off, clean, and take care of a bunch of little tasks. The only problem is that she still needs to be supervised. Several times I have looked up from what I was doing to find her splashing her hands in the toilet and slurping the water off of her hands or pulling the dog off the couch. She's been snapped at a few times, but obviously not hard enough for her to learn to leave them alone. It's been hard with Sammy's back being injured; he moves around a lot better now, but is still very sensitive and gets very nervous when Natalie approaches. He doesn't seem to be in pain, but doesn't walk the same, stumbles when he runs, and won't jump up onto the couch or bed. I'm not sure if we should have him rechecked at the vet or just assume that it will take time for him to return to his old activities.
I don't dare wish for warmer weather because I know it will only be a few weeks until it's too hot, but I do look forward to warm enough weather to go to the park and go for more walks and jogs.
I'm sure Micah will be glad for the cold mornings to end. Micah rode his scooter this week to Marta and it seems to be running fine. His motorcycle helmet arrived yesterday. And he now has a life insurance policy. I feel safer already.