This year, our church services begin at 1:00 pm. We share the building with two other congregations and since no one wants to have the "crappy" time all the time, we rotate each year.

Oh and just in case you do not have kids and you don't believe me about 1:00 pm being considered the "crappy" time, just come with me to the children's class one week and watch two dozen kids each have seven little mini breakdowns, each breakdown with a different trigger, while I try to teach them to sing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. Then next week visit a congregation where they start at 9:00 am and listen to the same thing but with non-nap-deprived subjects. You haven't lived until you've had an eleven year old girl launch herself into a crying fit because you've just covered up the words of a line to a song on the blackboard that you are trying to get them to memorize (the line that is repeated five other places in the same song and not covered up in those five other instances, by the way) because it "makes her feel stupid" when you do this.

It is so bad, in fact, that for several years - when we still had three congregations sharing the building - they used to try and have all three congregations begin their services before 11:00, just because no one wanted the "crappy" time. We just scheduled everything so we were all using different parts of the building at different times. There wasn't a classroom, table, or chair to spare, but no one wanted to start at 1:00 pm, so we all put up with it for years. Then as the congregations started growing in numbers, it got ridiculous and whoever got there late, meaning 9:01 or later, had to risk getting their vehicles towed by parking at the nearby shopping center and walking over because, much like the housing market at the time, parking spot real estate had become a premium that only people who got there at 6:00 am could partake of. Finally, in a meeting one Sunday, the ward council (basically, a "church committee" for the uninitiated out there) was all sitting around in its meeting trying to work out yet another schedule that would allow us all to be using the building at the same time, but not have us all bumping into each other in the process. The proposed schedule had been written up on the board, everyone had agreed, and we were about to move on to another subject when my astute friend Ed pointed out that one of the proposed meeting times was fifteen minutes too long. "That second time slot ends up being more than three hours," he said, "Somebody's gettin' more church than they need!"

That's when The KoH's head exploded and he launched into a diatribe about how stupid this was, trying to fit nine hundred people in a building made for three hundred and if we didn't bite the bullet soon and start spreading our meeting times out a bit more not only was the church going to have to start a shuttle bus service, but also one day we might just be shut down by the fire marshal because we exceeded the building capacity sign on the wall. I don't know how he did it but he convinced them to go back to a schedule where one congregation started at 9:00, one at 11:00 and one at 1:00. It made sense at the time, but let me point out that we did not have kids back then and there was no "crappy" time to us. If this whole event were happening now, I'd be inclined to slap some duct tape over his mouth.

So now, one congregation starts at 9:00, one at 11:00 and one at 1:00. We rotate times each year so no one has to have the "crappy" time all the time. We have the "crappy" time this year. (Man, that was a long way to go to explain why we go to church at 1:00, wasn't it?)

Even though I'd gladly chew through my own leg to get out of the trap of having to teach grade school aged kids Jesus songs when they really should be napping, there are some cool things about starting church that late on Sunday. Mainly, I am not inclined to do anything other than sit around in my pajamas and leisurely hang out with my family all morning long each Sunday. We take our time getting ready - we have the entire morning, after all - and there's very little of the usual morning script in our house which attempts to get The Dormouse to eat a bowl of yogurt in under seventy-five minutes. That script goes something like this: "Eat your breakfast. Sit back down and eat your breakfast. Get your feet off the table and eat your breakfast. Stop rocking your chair and eat your breakfast. Quit crawling on the floor and eat your breakfast. Leave the baby alone and eat your breakfast. Get out of the bathtub and eat. I'm going to put on the timer. OK, I've put on the timer. You have two minutes left to eat. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat! EAT! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY IN THIS WORLD, EEEEEEAAAAAAAAT!!!!!!!!"

Some Sundays, I'll even spend some time and *gasp* cook something for breakfast.

Several weeks ago, I was making pancakes and The Dormouse was hovering around my feet asking questions. I was looking for a distraction. "You'd better go into the living room and get ready."

"What are we going to do now Momma?"

"Something special."

"What special thing are we going to do?"

"We're going to have a Pancake Picnic." (I have no idea -- I just pulled it out of my ass.)

It seemed completely plausible to her. "Yay! A Pancake Picnic!! I haven't had a Pancake Picnic in SUCH a long time."

"Yep, so you better go set the picnic table."

It worked. She ran off and spent the next half hour setting up our "picnic breakfast." She had pillows for everyone to sit on, set the "table" with plastic picnic wear, decorated the room and even placed a toy specially chosen for each participant at everyone's seat. She was so excited, she was beside herself and I think she drove Daddy mad by going back and forth making tiny adjustments to the set up.* But, hey, I got to finish making breakfast without a four-year-old question machine encircling my feet. Sometimes parenting is all about pushing off the kids onto the other parent... but doing it artfully.

Then we all sat on the floor in the living room and ate pancakes.

Thus, a tradition was born in the Wonderland household. I wonder if this is how Christmas got started?

*does anyone notice the jar of peanut butter in the photo? I'm just wondering if there are other people in the world besides my husband who will not eat pancakes without peanut butter to put on them. Because he thinks this is perfectly normal.