Thursday, January 11, 2007

Once There Was A Snowman

Well, I knew it couldn't last. After three consecutive days of Dave getting home before 7:00 last week, Dave celebrated the weekend by working until 9:30 pm on Friday night. (Afterward, he resolved to never try to start a new thing at work on a Friday afternoon). At least it meant Dave didn't have to work Saturday. Luckily, I had my new-found scrapbooking to keep me company, so I did a few scrapbook pages while watching reruns of Growing Pains on TV. (Do you have any idea how ridiculous late 80's fashions look? It boggles my mind that they are coming back in style.)

After making my first official scrapbook page ever last week, this week I continued with pages 2-5. For as long as I can remember, I have consciously avoided scrapbooking for several reasons:

1) Intimidation: Scrapbooking is one of those things that many girls/women pursue to the point of obsession, laboriously documenting every single event in their lives or the life of anyone remotely related to them with an impossibly cute, painstakingly embellished page or two. Attempting to make sufficiently cute pages as an inexperienced novice might subject me to the scorn and ridicule of my peers.
2) Dislike of the Procrastination and Guilt Cycle: In order to be a scrapbooker, one needs to have elaborately ornamented photo-documentation for your entire life, or at least every event in the life of your children. This would make me already hopelessly behind. Why give myself one more thing that I have to catch up in?
3) Fear of Commitment: Would this mean that I would have to give up other relationships and change my lifestyle? What about and Costco photo albums? Will I have to re-do all of my previous work? 4) Skepticism: It seemed like a waste of time. Could it really be enjoyable to spend so much time/energy/money for a page of embeliished pictures? Isn't there something more productive I could do with my time than cutting and pasting paper and photos?
5) Lack of Talent: Despite being blessed with some amount of artistic sensibility, my talents don't lie in the visual arts. To make it worse, I don't have a cutesy bone in my body. How can someone who likes things simple and understated survive in such a cutesy-saturated hobby?
6) Pride: C'mon, EVERYBODY scrapbooks. Where is my originality? Can't I have a unique hobby like making creations out of duct tape?

Despite all of these initial misgivings, I realized that making a few scrapbook pages will not commit me to a lifetime of scrapbooking as my sole hobby or require me to give up all other forms of crafting or photo-documentation, and I proceeded to explore this as a new possibility for entertainment.

This all got started when, for Christmas, Dave bought me a really cool personal electronic cutter. I wasn't quite sure what it was, but after brief explanation, I figured out that it will cut letters or shapes out of paper for scrapbooking and craft projects. Which is really nifty, except that I (until this very last week) was not a scrapbooker and, in fact, had never done a single scrapbook page (unless you count a very primitive single page done years ago at an activity in my Young Women days). Resisting my first impulse to be offended (thinking that maybe Dave thought that I was an inadequate wife because I didn't scrapbook and was trying to drop a hint....) I realized that Dave had really thought about this gift. I have been to some "Stamping Up" and other crafting parties recently and liked them, so Dave thought I might want to give scrapbooking a try. What I also did not realize is that the electronic cutter or "Cricut" that he bought me is among the most coveted scrapbooking accessories and that I would be envied by scrapbookers all over the ward. So I decided to overcome my misgivings and give scrapbooking a try and so far have been enjoying it a lot.

Then....... I saw the Mastercard bill and I realized that this was a major little toy that Dave bought me (apparently, everybody was envious for a very good reason...) and I proceeded to get mad that Dave would be so frivolous and go overbudget like that. Then it hit me, "What am I thinking? What message am I sending? I always want my husband to do nice thoughtful things for me, and when he does come up with a thoughtful present and spends a bit of money on it, instead of being excited, I get mad that he would be frivolous." So, I quickly and sincerely repented and have since been thoroughly enjoying my electronic paper cutter. It is actually very cool and useful- kind of like a female version of power tools. =] I also realized that it is surprisingly fun and extremely therapeutic to cut and paste pictures and embellishments. It also serves as a way of documenting and validating my life: yes, I actually do something all day with these kids.

Well, our week has been pretty good so far. We had friends over for dinner on Sunday and Dave wowed me by making sugared walnuts for our salad AND making Susan's Cranberry Cake -sauce and all- by himself. Wow, there is something so attractive about a man that cooks. We had friends over again for family night on Monday. I gave a great lesson on obedience, punctuated with demands for Jared to come back and listen to me. Camryn was a lost cause from the beginning. ("Noah obeyed Heavenly Father and built the ark.... hey, Jared get back here and sit down! Nephi was very obedient to ---- Jared will you stop running in circles and yelling!"). But we had fun and the kids at least learned from the lesson that following directions is important if you want your apple cake to turn out yummy.

The kids went to bed late, so Jared had yet another morning of missing the bus, although this time it was intentional on our part, so he could get a few minutes extra sleep. The kids woke up anyway, two minutes before the bus comes- so they didn't have extra sleep, but I still had to drive him to school.

This week I made a startling discovery: if I load and run the dishwasher three times every day, our kitchen stays relatively clean. Despite my lack of skill in the dish department, I have actually had several consecutive days of keeping our kitchen presentable. I have continued in my unusual streak of domesticity by keeping our downstairs clean and tidy for several days in succession. This would create a pleasant surge in my self-esteem at my remarkable domestic efficiency if not, at the same time, we have larger and larger heaps of clean laundry, wrinkling in baskets, sitting unfolded in the master bedroom. We have now had several mornings in a row of digging through the whites basket at 7:26 a.m., looking frantically in vain for a pair of clean socks for Jared. Luckily, last night he slept in his socks, so we were O.K. even though we couldn't find a clean pair. Unfortunately, I have also discovered that despite my several dutiful days of dish diligence, it takes only one missed load before the kitchen is a disaster again...

On Sunday, Camryn graduated from Nursery and had her first day of Primary! She is now a Sunbeam (and a very sunny one, at that). She was VERY excited to go to primary and sing "I Am a Child of God" with all the big kids. She was very proud that her mommy and daddy were doing singing time (which was a very fun game involving putting together pieces of a snowman- with songs on the back). She was thrilled with everything until, during Singing Time, despite raising her hand ever-so-diligently her Daddy would not choose her to pick a piece of the snowman. She was crushed. She did not realize that Daddy was not discriminating against her; he was pulling sticks with names on them from a jar and the children were being chosen at random. She was so sad that she was on the verge of tears (one of the other Sunbeams was in tears because the other Noah was picked instead of him), so daddy finished Singing Time holding Camryn on one hip, assuring her that he really did love her, even though she wasn't chosen for the snowman. I am finding a lot of use out of recycling materials from the last time I was Primary Music Director: this week we woke up on Sunday morning and realized we had forgotten to plan music time. No problem. I pulled out my nicely laminated snowman pieces, put song names on the back and voila! It also helps to have 11:30 church. =]

In other news, Camryn and Jared are taking a break from swimming lessons (too cold to go out of the YMCA with wet hair and too much work to change into and out of a swimsuit and shower on both ends for a 30 minute class, and I'm tired of Camryn insisting on a girl teacher) and are taking gymnastics instead. Jared is lobbying to take rock climbing, but I'm still debating. I let him try rock climbing at the open climb at the YMCA yesterday and he was SO excited. Yesterday it snowed and this morning it snowed again (enough to stick to grass and roofs). Jared and Camryn each gathered up a snowball from the 1/4 inch that had accumulated on our back deck and put them in the freezer for safekeeping. Despite the cold, it is beautiful and sunny today, which is a nice change. Last week I auditioned for and was selected for the Portland Mormon Choir (, so I have rehearsals on Tuesday nights to prepare for a performance of Beethoven's 9th with the Willamette Falls Symphony in February. It is fun to be able to sing again.

I hope you all are doing well. Love,


Quotes of the Week:
Jared: "It else" (instead of "or else")
Camryn: Mommy, can I sit on your laps? Can I sit on your two laps? (Usually one "lap" is for Jared, one "lap" is for Camryn.)

Before I was married, I had a hundred theories about raising children and no children. Now, I have three children and no theories. -John Wilmot

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