Well, Hello 2011.
Jeff and I bid a fond farewell to 2010.
We started our New Year's Eve with dinner at Texas Roadhouse...I mean Red Lobster....I mean Applebees...
Okay, so here is that story...
I wanted Texas Roadhouse, I was really craving their grilled pork chop. Jeff was only too happy to oblige. We got to Texas Roadhouse and there was a line out the door of people waiting for a table. We talked it over for a moment and decided to try to eat somewhere else.
Since we had decided that New Year's Eve was probably the last time we were going to eat out until Valentine's Day, we decided to throw caution to the wind and get fancy-pants at Jeff's new favorite place on earth, Red Lobster. We drove up to Red Lobster, and it didn't look very promising. We couldn't find a parking spot. We drove past the front entrance and could see a line of people that extended to the outside door (but not outside). Knowing how slow the service at Red Lobster can be, we decided to hop in the car and trek to Applebees. I hadn't eaten there in a while and figured it could be fun to try something that wasn't in our normal repertoire of restaurants....
I guess there is a reason that we don't eat there very often. I decided to be bold and try something new on the menu...the steak and potato salad. Jeff went with his regular steak and potatoes combination.
Jeff's meal was semi disappointing...the grilled onions were less than grilled but his steak was actually quite good...
My meal, on the other hand, was a complete disappointment. The salad was tossed in this disgusting dijon vinagrette that needed more of a sweet flavor to make it even remotely edible. I'd ordered the steak that they were to put on my salad as medium rare. I like it a little pink, but not raw....well...the strips of steak looked pretty much as if they had been tossed on the grill on each side for a few minutes and were almost completely raw except for a small ring of brown that encased the meat...
Forget about sending it back, our waiter was nowhere to be seen. I forced myself to choke down the (raw) meat and a few bites of salad. Jeff could tell I was very unhappy. He let me eat a few pieces of his steak (which was perfectly cooked) to make up for it. He also let me order dessert.
The service was horrible that night. Again, our waiter was nowhere to be seen. One of the other workers brought out our refills that had been waiting in the back for a while (we were having flavored lemonades and they have to make them at the bar because that is where the flavors are.) Mango lemonades in hand...we waited again...
We waited, and waited, and waited....
Finally, about ten minutes after we asked another worked busing tables to put in our dessert order...ten minutes later, our waiter came by to clarify that we'd ordered dessert...
I was a little irritated at this point but as sweetly as possible verified the order.
We waited another 10 minutes and finally the waiter brought out our dessert. He apologized for his service being so slow..
Slow...there was the understatement of the year...
As far as I could see, he only had three tables. I know that it was a somewhat busy night for them, but while we were waiting for our first refill other waiters and waitresses had already brought third and fourth refills, and dessert to the tables that were surrounding us. Tables were leaving that had gotten there after we did. All the while, our waiter had seemingly disappeared into the abyss.
The waiter brought the check with dessert...Jeff quickly just handed him the debit card without even looking at it...lest we be stuck for another 20 minutes waiting for him to come grab it.
Dessert made up for the horrible meal. We ordered the maple blondie brownie. Jeff and I fought over the last bite.
We had originally planned to go to the free SUB night after dinner for a round or two of skittle bowling...but we got to the car, decided it was too cold outside and that we just wanted to snuggle up and watch a movie.
We decided to pull a drive-by movie drop.
Jeff pulled up to Fred Meyer, I,debit card in hand, made a mad dash for the Redbox. I ended up renting an action flick, Salt. I was confused for part of it...and normally movies don't get me confused, but once I figured out what was going on, I figured out the end of the movie before it happened. Jeff was proud of me...I was proud of me...I went from complete confusion to mystery master in a matter of minutes.
The movie was over around 10:30...Jeff asked if I wanted to stay up until midnight. I answered with a resounding "Heck yes, I want my kiss!" We both laughed, kissed and then went about our individual business as the clock ticked on.
Jeff worked on some work and then played Starcraft while I worked on photo editing some wedding pictures. I didn't even realize it was midnight until Jeff grabbed my computer out of my lap, put it on the ground, and wrapped his arms around me. Then came the big smooch.
It was officially 2011, and we were officially tired, so we went to bed.
We enjoyed a somewhat lazy Saturday and prepared for Sunday.
I am the Primary pianist. I have to say that this has got to be one of my favorite callings of all time. I love the little kids in our ward. They are all so sweet and learning to them listen and share gospel principles has added a whole new dimension to my testimony.
Well, this Sunday was a somewhat confusing one.
Our primary presidency was informed just before Sacrament meeting that our kids would not be switching primary classes and that we would not be getting new Sunbeams (for those of you who don't know the 3-4 year old kids in primary are the Sunbeams) They were also informed that the schedule would be changing next week and that we would no longer be having opening exercises together.
Two problems with that:
1) the teachers had prepared lessons with the idea that they would be teaching new kids. Many had planned "getting to know you" games.
2) the Primary president wasn't there so we could understand what was going to happen with the schedule next week. We are still not sure how they are planning on running primary without opening exercises. The opening exercises give the kids an opportunity to learn how to give talks, scriptures and pray in public.
Needless to say, we were all a bit confused.
To make matters worse, our chorister wasn't there and hadn't informed any of us that she wouldn't be.
We were winging it.
Sister Larsen, the 1st counselor in the Primary approached me while the kids were having sharing time to ask me if I would be willing to come up with a lesson plan for singing time.
Sure....30 minutes to plan a 30 minute lesson...ummmm okay.
I was trying to figure out how to approach teaching one of the new songs that we would need to learn in the new year without any teaching aids when Sister Larsen came back.
"I think those posterboards and baggies behind you are music things that had been left behind. You can see if you can make any of those work." I thanked her and feverishly turned around to dig through the pile behind me.
I managed to find a snowman game that involved refreshing the kids' memories about songs they had learned. I didn't like the rules, so I quickly made my own up.
I also took out songs that I was fairly certain the kids in this group didn't know. Who knows how long this had been sitting in the primary room. The bag was fairly dusty.
All I can say is how grateful I am that I took that Elementary Music Methods class last spring semester. The kids were very focused on me because I had learned various techniques in that class to keep their attention. I knew they were full of energy. While the Senior Primary kids were finishing up sharing time, I could hear the Junior Primary kids in the hall laughing, shouting and generally being rowdy.
First, I tried the hand raising technique. I simply said, "Raise your hand if your not talking." I had a few kids in Junior Primary that were looking around instead of raising their hands and I simply said, "We will only start singing time when everyone is raising their hand. If you're all raising your hands I know you're all being reverent." Hands shot up like bullets from a gun.
I could tell they had so many wiggles bottled up they could hardly stand it! I said. How many of you know how to play "Simon Says?" the kids eagerly raised their hands and some of the little ones raised their hands after looking around. I could tell they didn't know how to play it. I said, "Its okay if you don't. Even if you do, I'm going to explain the rules anyway." One of the Senior Primary kids suggested we play it as "Jesus Says" since we were at church. I made a joke about not being a boy, but I would be Jesus...the kids all giggled. We then proceeded to play out all of their wiggles.
When I was sure the kids were completely focused on me, I started music. I went ahead with my plan to teach a new song to the kids. We learned "Search Ponder and Pray." The Senior Primary kids knew the song, but none of the Juniors did. It worked out perfectly (except for the part where one of the Senior Primary kids got upset because she thought I was teaching the words wrong. I finally had to show her the words in the book.)
I remembered the rule of 3. Kids need to hear something 3 times before you ask them to repeat it. There is a chemical reaction that happens in the brain and helps the synapse to form so they can remember it. I said a phrase 3 times and had them say it with me, then I sang it two times and had them sing it 2 times with me. We had the song learned in about 10 minutes.
I know the little Sunbeams didn't quite get it all, but my goodness they tried so hard! It was so cute they tried to make up arm signals so they could show that they remembered some of the words. (which gave me an awesome idea if I had to throw singing time together again someday, but that is a lesson for another day.) They were so intently watching and focused, I could tell that they were trying so hard to sit still and be reverent.
I finally explained the snowman. I told the kids that his name was Mr.Snow, and that he had never been to primary and was shy. I said we needed to sing songs really well so he would stop hiding. I interacted with my laminated friend, pretending that he was talking to me and asking me for various body parts after each song ( ie he wants his arms now. It looks like you're having so much fun he wants to try to sing along!) The kids loved it!
After primary a little boy with special needs (he's autistic) came up to me and tugged on my skirt. I got down to his level and he sweetly said, "Will you be here next week? You're fun!" I smiled and told him I would be here, but I would probably be playing the piano. He smiled and grabbed his dad's hand and left the room waving goodbye.
The teachers and who was there from the primary presidency commended me. They said they'd never seen the kids so engaged before.
I have to admit how much fun I had.
Isn't it funny how god makes sure we learn what we need to know? I didn't necessarily need to take Elementary Music Methods, in fact, in the state of Idaho you only need to take it if you plan on getting K-12 music certification. I had never thought I would want to be an Elementary music teacher and its funny how that class showed me that I could do it, and how much fun I would have. Its funny that I was able to use the knowledge I'd learned in that class for a church calling on a whim.
God surely finds a way to place the right people with the right skills in the right situations. Sister Larsen said that she would have had no clue what to do. I am so grateful that I have been given knowledge and skills that can be used to help other people in need.
Never underestimate the power of even the smallest bit of knowledge that you have darlings, you never know when you will be asked to use it.
Well, here's looking forward to a crazy new year with crazy new challenges. I'm working on being ready...are you?
Hugs and loves until next time darlings!