I played for a vocal competition (NATS) in Kearney, NE, just over two hours away, on Friday and Saturday. I think I already mentioned this in an earlier post, but just for good measure here's what that entailed:
-learning three or four songs each for 12 people and rehearsing with each of those people
-organizing babysitting for Thursday overnight and Friday, then early Saturday morning through til the evening (THANK YOU MAKALL!!!)
-Austin taking work/school off Friday to come to Kearney with me to be with Jack in between my performances and his feedings - we briefly tried to see if he would take a bottle so that he wouldn't have to come with me for this event, but that didn't work out
That would already be extensive enough, but we had a few more logistics to consider:
-my brother Max was returning from his two year mission that Friday night in Omaha, three hours away from Kearney, and I obviously didn't want to miss that
-my birthday was Thursday so we had plans with my family and didn't end up getting to Kearney until midnight
-Saturday was Halloween and we didn't want the kids to miss out on the festivities
It was stressful to plan and prepare for the competition, but once the weekend came it went super well and everything came together and our children did awesome at home with Makall and Smalls bonded with his Daddy in Kearney and I had a blast playing piano professionally again. Of the twelve students that I played for, 9 went on to semifinals, 5 went on to finals, and 2 won their entire category at this regional four-state event. It was exciting! I loved spending so much time with Austin and was grateful for his help, and so thankful that Makall was doing such a good job with Natalie and Stockton. It's a good feeling to know you are in good hands. (Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa, too!)
AND, MAX CAME HOME!!!! We raced home from Kearney to pick up the kids in Lincoln and make it to the Omaha airport in time to see the long-awaited return of my middle brother from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland after two years of serving the Lord. My mom's best friend, Kellie, flew in from Maryland to help prepare for the event and she and my mom made these great signs and posters and ordered balloons and got the house all ready and really did a nice job making everything feel major and celebratory. Kellie is a phenomenal photographer and also documented the entire airport homecoming scene, and our long-time family friend, Hoch, was in charge of the video recording. It was so fun to see everyone there feeling anxious and excited to see their son/brother/friend/student. Then all of a sudden he emerged from the humble Omaha crowd and waved his way down the elevator while we cheered and waved our signs, and then waited our turn for the Homecoming Hug.
|MINKLE, in the FLESH!!!|
|mom/maxy, the hug of all hugs|
|typical Hoch exchange, love her|
It almost instantly went back to normal - no weirdness or awkwardness or anything, just happiness that we were together again as a family and proud of his service in the Lord's work. We went to Wing Stop (nothing more American than wings and a Coke, right?) and enjoyed laughing and eating and having our family feel more full again. Very happy : ) Then us Poulsens trekked back to Lincoln, slept for a few brief hours, and headed back to Kearney in the early A.M. We were very done with driving after the weekend!
Side note on my birthday, just for posterity:
I'm 25! Kellie came to Lincoln to take our family pictures (they turned out so great! once I get all of them I'll most certainly post them) and then she, my mom, Smalls and I went to Barnes while Austin took the other kids home. Kellie took Jack from me so I could have an uninterrupted browse which was heavenly, especially since my mom gave me a giftcard so I had funds AND freedom to look around. Ahh. Then Kellie bought me one of those magical adult coloring books and the juiciest little tin of colored pencils, and my mom took us out to dinner when (big) Jack joined us (because what's a birthday dinner without your twin!?), and it was celebratory and happy and I felt appropriately birthday spoiled. I told Austin I wanted "something functional for the house" and he came up with a kitchen rug to put on the floor in front of the sink. It's perfect! He wins. Oh, and all my Lincoln friends came to brunch at my house that morning, and the house was full with children and chatting and cinnamon rolls and the like, and it was great. Especially the homemade apple sauce, mmm.
|zoomed in - LOOK at those faces!|
(kellie, forgive me for chopping your photo!
I promise I'll never do it again!)