October seems to have been taken over with planning (and STRESSING - oh - my - goodness -) over the Multi-stake Youth Convention, held on 21st & 22nd. Over 200 teenagers, 60-odd adults, registration, dance, workshops, activities, overnight accommodation, food, last minute changes etc, to help organise... I put in a few solid 6 hour stints when the kids were at school, on the phone and computer - dealing with upward of 30 emails some days, in the week beforehand.
In the end, it was a truly wonderful event. Everything came together, everyone had somewhere to sleep, the kids loved the Junk Fashion Show, complete with catwalk and DJ, which our Northampton team had come up with, and the highlight was the Devotional and Testimony Meeting at the end. Nearly 2 hours solid of 14-18 year olds coming up one after the other to share their feelings about the gospel. There were very few dry eyes by the end, and the spirit was incredible. Made every second of stress (and I have seriously never felt more stressed in my life), worth it.
Also in October, Harry started swimming lessons after school on Mondays (our first child who has actually wanted them.) He scores 11/10 for enthusiasm and energy, and 2/10 for style (and ability to propel forwards in the water.)
We also got the mud/sand in the front garden levelled, ordered turf and laid it (on 12th), and bought a new people carrier. (Our blue one still had what was left of its exhaust pipe held on with a wire coat hanger, wasn't very economical, had the driver's window propped up with wood, couldn't be locked, except the boot though which couldn't open, Lucy got squirted through the car wall when I turned the lever to wash the back windscreen, seats worn through, not to mention the lack of trim and dent on one side from when I knocked over John's fence post a couple of years ago. I think I'm forgetting a couple of things too.) Amazingly enough, the people we bought our new Chrysler from took it in part exchange!
On 15th October we went over to Birmingham for a Cryer Family get together, while Scott's Aunty Sue and Uncle Les were over from Canada. It was great to see everyone, and just hang out, play games and chat.
Also in October, I prepared an Auxiliary Training meeting for the ward Young Women Presidents, helped out on a couple of local school visits, had our friends Richard and Jo Blackhurst over for a meal, and had Harry and Tom's parents evenings.
Harry's teacher said that he is popular, sometimes gets too silly, is doing fine with his work, and is an exceptionally good drawer. She said if she goes through a pile of pictures, she can pick his out without seeing any names. She told me to tell him that he is doing really well!
Tom's teacher said that he is good in all his subjects - an all-rounder, and also that she sees him being a good influence on the other children around him, and that Scott and I should be very proud of him.
Sunday 16th was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. Had a meeting in Northampton starting at 7.30am which left me feeling unsettled, then we had some very spiritual talks in Sacrament meeting (instead of the broadcast we were supposed to be having, because the screen fell down). I was with one of my counsellors, and a couple of the Stake YM Presidency, and both of us girls were a bit tearful, but we then had a meeting (more Convention stuff), during which I was tearful again, then we were joined in our meeting with President Hirst, and a visiting member of the 70, who said he felt he should come in and spend some time with us. After hearing from each of us (me = more tears) he then gave us all some counsel, and me some very direct words of encouragement. They then left the meeting, and we continued with our meeting where we discussed what we had learnt. The feelings of friendship amongst us was so strong.
The Youth Convention weekend was the first weekend of the half term. Scott took the boys down to his parents' house, where they had been invited to stay for a few days. On Sunday 23rd October, Lucy and I were wrecked, but very much on a high from the convention. After church the Bleakleys came over and stayed for a while, before going and leaving Abigail with us for a few days. I had looked forward to this time so much! - the convention over, the boys away, Lucy's birthday to enjoy with just herself and Abigail, and the half term holidays!
That evening we went over to my friends, the Blackhursts' farm, for a Harvest Thanksgiving & Hog Roast. It was in one of the big barns, with loads of people, and we really enjoyed it. Considering we thought we'd know hardly anyone, we chatted with loads of people - Tom's teacher from last year, friends from the school, Richard and Jo's families etc. There was also a competition to 'Guess how many tonnes of onions' were in the barn. When Richard announced the winners though, he said the Flinns had won, and I sat there thinking - ooh, I wonder who the other Flinns are?! Then he said for the two Flinn girls to come up, and I realised he was talking about Lucy and Abigail! Lucy and Abigail had won, with their guess (aided by Scott) of 550 tonnes. (Richard was getting mixed up with my Facebook name of Helen Flinn Cryer, Abigail was most pleased that she had been classed as my daughter, and Lucy was glad to have a sister!)