Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Embracing the Pooch

Hello, my dear family and friends, who lovingly submit to being sent my updates,

We've had a pretty normal week. I am trying to recuperate from being overbooked from a month straight, so I'm trying to be as lazy as possible. In the past week, despite my efforts toward my laziness goal, I actually have tried to cook some nice dinners, but in that time I have had two botched meals and one botched side dish, driving home the lesson that you should never let yourself slip when working toward goals. The second moral of the story is to never make Curried Chickpeas with sweet onions (not a strong enough flavor), never make chili with an unknown chili powder (mine had SALT in it-- double salted chili is not tasty), and don't try to make a gourmet vegetable cream soup with frozen veggies (picture an unappetizingly green watery soup with little vegetable lumps in it-- I didn't even show it to Jared, much less make him try it).

Jared, by the way, has the meanest mom in the world because instead of cooking say, Spaghetti and Meatballs, she feels a compulsion to try dishes like "Spinach Ricotta Pappardelle," "Chicken Breasts Meuniere," or "Green Beans Amandine." Never mind the fact that the "Meuniere" was basically a fancy name for schnitzel or that green beans with lemon juice and sauteed almonds are just about the best side dish around, as soon as Jared saw them he started wrinkling his nose and cringing with apprehension of the disgustingness awaiting him. Well, I have been feeling a little guilty about making all these new meals that are weird for the kids, so I decided to make something plain that they would like: sloppy joes. Unfortunately Jared decided that he didn't like sloppy joes either, so now he is emotionally wounded because I told him he had to eat his green beans and sloppy joe to have a dinner treat. He sat quivering in front of his plate for 20 minutes, trying to decide if it was worth ingesting such appalling foulness and putridity for the sake of a little ice cream. In the end, he nobly sacrificed the chance for ice cream to escape defiling his stomach. Yesterday we happened to have some Muenster cheese in the fridge, so I was eating a piece and offered a sample to Jared. He immediately started shaking and cringing, despite my assurances that it really was tasty. He finally was harassed into trying a piece and admitted it was only a little good.
A little aside on the subject of cooking-- I finally found the answer to the question that kitchen philosophers the world over have debated. I have stewed and puzzled about how on earth one is supposed to keep a clean kitchen, especially if you have dish-doing disability like me. Even more puzzling is when I have diligently done the dishes and my kitchen is STILL a complete disaster. And then I had an epiphany-- the answer came so clearly and startling: THE SECRET TO HAVING A CLEAN KITCHEN IS TO NOT USE IT TO COOK. All of a sudden it all made sense. Unfortunately, that does make a kitchen a rather useless, although much more decorative, room of the house.

On Thursday last week, Camryn and I got to go to Jared's school for a special event: the wedding of Q and U. It was a special event, not soon to be forgotten, hosted by the two morning kindergarten classes. One class was "Q"s (Jared's) and the other class was "U"s. All of the kindergartners had the appropriate letter headband on. They had chairs set up outside for the parents and after the entrance of both classes a "Q" from one class walked down the aisle with a "U" from another class (preceded by a flower girl, of course). After the officiating official asked the two "letters" if they would always stand together in all words that say the sound "Qu," and they emphatically answered, "I Do," they had a recessional of both classes. Then each class and its visitors got to have wedding cake and punch in their classroom. This was the highlight of Jared and Camryn's week.

Camryn got to bring her bike to preschool on Thursday to go for a ride around the school. She said afterward, "Mom, we didn't ride away from the school, we just went around in a circle, over and over again." Jared begged and pleaded to go on the bike ride with Camryn's school. He even slyly got permission from Camryn's teacher and thought he had clinched it. But, alas for Jared, his vicious mother would not let him go home and get his bike so he could show all the preschoolers how much faster he was. I tried to explain to Jared that Camryn did not get to go on a field trip to the zoo or to Albertson's with Jared's kindergarten class, but he still was crestfallen. Poor Jared was forced to go to Linens and Things, a "boring store" that "doesn't have any fun stuff for kids." Despite its lack of fun stuff, he managed to find two neon colored balls with plastic spikes and bounced them around the entire store, narrowly escaping damaging multiple items in the process.

On Friday morning, I got a call from a friend who had 2 extra tickets to a Brad Paisley concert and wanted to know if Dave and I wanted to go. Yes! Of course!!!! Now, who is Brad Paisley, you may ask.... let me tell you.... I had no idea--- Dave and I had never heard of him either. Actually, I had heard my friend talk about him and that was the first I had ever heard of him. He is a (gulp...) country singer and a great guitarist. Despite the fact that Dave and I aren't super big country fans, we accepted the offer, went to the concert and had a great time. We got to see Jack Ingram--some guy/band from Austin, a 17 year-old singer-songwriter named Taylor Swift (we didn't actually get to hear her because there was a row of her fans right behind us screaming her songs and drowning her out), Kellie Pickler!!!! (definitely the highlight of the show... I've always been a huge fan of people who deserved to get voted off American Idol weeks before they actually did), and Brad Paisley, of course. Kellie Pickler actually wasn't as bad as I expected and Brad Paisley was downright GOOD. He was a great guitarist and had fun lyrics to his songs: like the one about how much cooler he is online-- he loses 20 pounds every time he logs in, the one about how his girlfriend told her she's leaving him if he goes fishing again- and he'll sure miss her, or the one called "Alcohol: the best times you'll never remember." So Dave and I were cultured in the ways of country and had a chance to pick up a Burgerville fresh strawberry milkshake on the way home. Score!

Saturday was devoted to working on the yard, taking Jared to T-Ball (30 minutes late, of course, because he had to have his room clean first), and going to a friends house to watch the Jazz game. Sunday involved waking up and madly rushing to bathe the kids, prepare for primary and get everyone out the door in time to rehearse with the choir before church.... only to find out when we got there that the choir number had been cancelled. I love it when that happens. I still hate our voice mail service because unless we happen to pick up the phone (which we apparently did not after we got home Saturday night) we don't know that we have any messages, no matter how relevant they may be.

Monday we prepared to kick off the summer with... clouds, grey skies, cold and Dave going in to work. Just the way to celebrate Memorial Day!! That afternoon, a friend and I took the kids on a trip to walk around the temple grounds. Luckily it warmed up and Dave got home in time for our yummy barbecue that evening.

In pregnancy news, I'm now officially 12 weeks and my baby is the size of a lime and two inches long... which I'm sure accounts for the extra two inches that have accumulated around my middle. My week of being the human-vacuum-cleaner has, thankfully, started to wear off and my appetite is returning to normal non-Dave levels. Earlier this week I was having a very hard time adjusting to my changing silhouette, it being that awkward phase where I don't look pregnant, I just look fat-- I mean, less trim-- in all my clothes with a little extra pudge in the middle-- like a guy who's had a few too many beers. I considered making an "I'm really not fat, I'm just pregnant" t-shirt and then thought better of it. I was moping and depressed, especially since this is only the beginning... I only get bigger from here-- and if it's anything like my last two, it will be MUCH bigger. Then after a sufficient period of "woe is me," I finally decided, that since there is nothing I can do about it, it is time for me to stop moping and embrace my poochy tummy. I'm excited to have a baby, so I'm going to be excited to have a large and rounded abdomen showing evidence of it. OK, this one is going to take some work, but I can at least add it to my goals, along with being more lazy. My morning sickness is starting to get better, so I'm hoping in the next few weeks I'll be rid of it entirely. Top Ramen is still good, but not the delicacy it once was. Maybe that's proof that I'm getting out of the morning sick phase. Here's hoping!

Today Dave is off to Taiwan and Singapore to try to fix problems for some very unhappy customers. Never mind that he had nothing to do with creating the mess that he is off to try and fix.... Hopefully he has a good trip and we survive without him.


Quotes of the Week:

Jared (to Camryn): I asked Allie if she was going to the Q and U wedding and she didn't even know what it was!! (laughter)

Jared: Mom, I'm almost really famous. Half of a lot of people know me.

Camryn: I really liked-ed the Q and U wedding! It was so fun.

Camryn made the following sign, written on a paper: "DUC HAPE BFTA" [Duck Happy Birthday]. Then she handed me the paper and said, "Mom, can you staple this? It's not for me. It's for my duck. He needs to wear his Happy Birthday crown." ... "NOOOOO!!! Don't staple it like that! That's the way my duck has to go in it!!"

Jared made a book this week called: "I Wish I cood [could] go to the moon:"

"I wish i cood go to the moon [picture of him and Jared asleep in bunk beds with him dreaming about the moon]
'1 day i went to the moon" [Picture of mom and dad standing in front of the house looking sad]
"Wen I got to spase I so the moon" [when i got to space I saw the moon-- picture of rocket flying to the moon]
"Wen I got to the moon I plad" [when I got to the moon I played-- picture of Jared driving a car on top of the moon]
"Soon it wus time to leve." [Soon it was time to leave]
"I went home" [picture of rocket flying back to our house with a very happy mom and dad standing outside.]
"I had lots uv fun" [I had lots of fun-- picture of Jared and Camryn asleep in bunk beds]
"The next day my sister wonted me to tel hr ubawt the moon. the end." [the next day my sister wanted me to tell her about the moon. The End.-- picture of Jared telling Camryn "I had a lot of fun"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Weekend Recovery

Hello to everyone!

Picking up where my last update left off, we had a crazy Thursday last week, complete with Camryn barfing all over the car. After cleaning up and getting some dinner for Jared, I headed off to the last tech/dress rehearsal before the Sherwood Chorale Spring Benefit performance. I was playing for three numbers: the Sherwood high school concert choir, the infamous 10-minute Wicked choral highlights and an opera duet (the Flower Duet from Lakme).

Being a music major, I have been bred and trained to look down my nose at pop music as an inferior, lesser species. If there's anything I have learned from this accompanying stint, it has been to give some grudging respect to pop music: the Lakme opera duet was easy, basically sight-reading (albeit sight-reading with 6 sharps), while the "Wicked" arrangement required multiple sessions of thunking out the rhythm at the piano and much sweating about making jumps, nasty page turns, lining up with everyone else's tricky rhythms and exposed cutoffs and entrances. In the course of the rehearsal period, my energy level has made me much more inclined to go to bed early than to head out for a rehearsal at night, so I have been more cranky than usual. It has especially been annoying that nobody seems to notice that showing up to weekly rehearsals, having to practice nasty-hard music and giving up an evening with my husband to rehearse for free is any kind of imposition on me. So it really made my day when after rehearsing the opera duet at the tech rehearsal, the soprano (who has sung with the Portland Opera) came up to me and gave me a hug and said, "You are just amazing. Thank you so much! I'll have to keep in touch with you in case I ever need an accompanist." Even after more donated performances than I can count, it still really makes a difference when someone recognizes what you are doing and sincerely appreciates it.

Friday..... Friday began with a trip to Target to procure last-minute items for Camryn's birthday. We had babysitting lined up for Dave to go to my performance that night, but it was also the father and son's campout so there had been debate all week over whether Dave should take Jared to that instead (Jared REALLY wanted to go, although I think that had more to do with the fact that his friend Cameron Olsen would be there and said it would be cool than with the fact that he was going to go camping). The afternoon passed by and I still did not get a final answer from Dave on whether they would go, although he said he would come home early so we could open Camryn's presents and blow out candles. After a delicious dinner of Papa Murphy's I still had not heard from Dave and he was not returning my calls, so I was preparing to take Camryn and Jared to the friends house, when Dave finally arrived home at 6:35 (my performance call was at 6:45). The part of the lab that Dave was in didn't have cell phone reception and a problem had come up at work that held him up, but he felt really bad that he was late. No problem, we still had 5 minutes to blow out candles and open presents, which we did, after which I ran out the door. Camryn was SO excited to get a new bike (with pretty streamers and a matching pack). She also got some funny-looking black and white pictures, which after some explanation, she learned were pictures of her new brother or sister. Dave stayed home with the kids and put them to bed early. My performance went well, after which I came home and baked a funfetti cake.

Saturday was the big day of Camryn's friend party! Eight preschoolers descending on our house at the same time! Yes! Our house was a mess, Jared had T-ball, and the cake still had to be decorated, but I was undeterred by any of this. Dave got up and decided that it was time to start sawing off our deck (this deterred me a bit). After we got a trampoline, we realized that for it to fit in our yard we would need a smaller deck. No problem, we would just cut our deck shorter and put the railing back on. Dave had started work on it earlier this week, but on Saturday morning before the party decided it was the time to start sawing. Now this little episode is proof to me that I actually have learned something in seven years of marriage. My initial reaction was that Dave was crazy-- there was no way that he could finish it in time, we were planning on using the yard (and deck) for the party, and why on earth would he do it now when we needed to get ready for the party? But, after discarding the option of telling him that I thought he was crazy and trying to sabotage me, I thought, "Hmmm, I really want this deck fixed and Dave is inclined to do it now, so I'm going to just let him and not say anything. He is a grown adult so I am going to let him exercise his judgment and hope that I can get ready for the party by myself." So I frosted the cake, decorated it, cleaned up the mess, put up streamers and a banner, got the games ready, did the dishes, assembled gift bags, took Jared to T-Ball, ran home to get the snacks I forgot, stopped by Walgreens to pick up forgotten items for the party, set the table up, got snacks ready, made lemonade, swept the floor and mopped. Meanwhile, despite my resolution to leave Dave alone, I was really nervous. 2:00 pm came and so did the eight preschoolers. We started with decorating treat sacks, played pin the tail on the puppy, had some snacks and then went outside. And to my utter surprise and shock, the deck was done and they had a great time playing on the trampoline and play structure. Afterward, we did the pinata on our newly smaller deck.

After the party, we cleaned up and then decided that we needed a break. So we went to Outback for dinner, after which Dave dropped me off at the hich school for my call for that night's performance. Dave and Jared came to see it. Jared went home at halftime, I mean intermission-- too many NBA playoff games have been on at our house-- and Dave and I stayed to see the guest pianist who played for the second half. Then we went home and crashed.

Sunday morning: make new visual aids for primary, agree to play for last-minute musical number, do primary, eat lunch, host choir, crash again. In spite of "crashing" on Sunday night, I made a yummy dinner of Dijon Tilapia with baked potatoes (YUM-- I think I must be craving carbs) and salad and--- hold on to your hats, everyone-- I did all the dinner dishes-- on the same night! Yes! I know it's unbelievable. Then I crashed.

So Monday came around and we were ready to recover from our weekend. Unfortunately, Jared started acting unusually tired and saying his throat hurt. I looked in his mouth and one of his tonsils was swollen so it took up almost half his throat. So we cancelled music class and took Jared to the doctor. Jared had tonsillitis, so we took him home to sleep and antibiotics. The doctor said he could go back to school today (that's just plain weird to me) and Jared was waking us up at 7:05 to make sure he didn't miss the bus today. (He gets really mad when mom and dad drive him to school and he's late. He doesn't want to miss anything.)

In pregnancy news, I'm 11 weeks today. Woo hoo, only 29 to go. I'm feeling less nauseated, but feel like I'm turning into the human vacuum cleaner. It really scares me when I can eat DAVE under the table. I try to rein myself in a bit because I still am paranoid of gaining a million pounds. So, I'm pretty much hungry all the time, and not everything sounds good, but as long as I don't let myself get an empty stomach I feel OK. I'm still feeling tired, but this week that may not have anything to do with pregnancy-- it's just been a long week. =] Now that Jared and Camryn know about the baby, they are starting to tell people, so word is getting out.

So that's our crazy weekend. I'm thinking today might be a good pajama day. =] Love,


Quotes of the week:

Right now the kids are in the middle of this dumb joke stage: I get to hear 101 variations on "Why did the chicken cross the road?", none of which make any sense. They also seem to have this great love for joking about "tooting," despite the fact that I don't recall that Dave or I have ever joked about flatulence in their presence. Hooray for 5-year-old friends.... For example:

Camryn: "Why did the chicken cross the road? Because a bee just stung him on the head." (Eruption of laughter)
Jared: "Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it tooted." (More laughter)
Camryn: "Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it needed a soda." (Jared: "Camryn, that isn't funny.)

Jared and Camryn must have recently seen "Over the Hedge" again at a friends house because we have Jared who wears his "Easter present" kids golf club set over his shoulder as " R.J.," while Camryn is the hyper-active squirrel "Hammie."

Jared: "The cartoon "Cyberchase" is a really good show for teaching children how to get away from bad guys."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Clean-Up Time

Hello everyone,

So we have been doing pretty well. I had a great Mother's day-- complete with a gourmet breakfast (french toast made with Great Harvest cinnamon chip bread, scrambled eggs, sliced bananas and a triple berry smoothie-- yum!) and multiple presents from Jared (a hand-decorated pot, two pictures and a school worksheet =] ), and even a present from Camryn (a random household item lovingly and creatively wrapped up in wrapping paper). After church, we had some friends over for Mother's Day dinner and had RIB-EYE steaks, courtesy of Dave and his mad grilling skills. The menfolk took care of everything from steak to dessert to clean-up, although I managed to get Dave to let me make my herb goat cheese toasts as an appetizer. Dave even cleaned up our fairly messy kitchen BY HIMSELF before they came over. I was very impressed.

After our friends left, Dave and the kids brought down my presents. Dave took the kids shopping with him Saturday and they had wrapped up my presents with his help-- two of them were in "Cars" wrapping paper. =] I got a nifty cool crockpot that's programmable with a built in meat thermometer (so it can switch to "warm" when the meat is done). This was good since I accidentally killed my other crock pot by leaving the "crock" part on a stove burner and then accidentally turning the wrong knob on the stove.... between the crockpot, a slicer, a spice rack and a "cooks illustrated" cookbook (does anyone notice a theme here?), let's just say Dave outdid himself. =] I was kind of expecting flowers and a card and instead I got Christmas!

We had a busy Saturday. We did some house cleanup and some shopping and we... dum, dum, dum, dum.... bought a trampoline with enclosure for a backyard. Or dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb if you believe Consumer Reports' opinion on the safety of trampolines. Risks of death and dismemberment aside, we found a good deal on a trampoline, so we just went for it. Now all we have to do is hack off our deck so it will fit in our yard. =] Right now the trampoline is assembled on our deck-- and covers almost all of it. We have started the process of disassembling half of our deck (which covers most of our yard) and we can only hope it will be done before Camryn's birthday party on Saturday.

Last Saturday, we also bought Camryn a real bike with training wheels to surprise her with for her birthday on Friday. Then we went to dinner with some friends on Saturday night. We were going to go to Outback, but there was an 85 minute wait, so we called PF Changs, but there was a 2-hour wait. So we went someplace else entirely and were left to ponder on the wisdom of calling ahead to get on the waiting list.

Friday-- as you all have heard by now-- I finally had my first OB appointment. Now instead of listening for the heartbeat, they do an ultrasound and you can see the heartbeat. It's pretty amazing, even at 9 1/2 weeks. Our little baby has a light-bulb shaped head, a very round little body and teeny stubby arms and legs.=] He/she is very active-- the baby kept turning, flipping and switching positions during the ultrasound. My "official" due date is December 11th, but after looking at Camryn and Jared's birth weights, the OB asked how I would feel about being induced a week early. I was quite agreeable to the idea and happy that she is on the same page as me. =] So it looks like baby will probably come about December 4th. I probably already told you that.

Dave's job is going well, but it is CRAZY. The new project he is working on gives him a lot of responsibility, aside from the normal huge amount of work. His new group is in charge of maintaining and fixing problems on a tool that is already out in the field with customers. Which would be great except the tool has had problems out the wazoo and the customer has NOT been happy with how his company has handled it so far. I guess the beauty is there's nowhere else to go but up. =] When he first started the new project he had a DAILY conference call with Taiwan at 6 pm (9 am Taiwan time-- it was a great time for the other guys...) that usually lasted 60-90 minutes. That was getting REALLY old -- especially 7 days a week. Finally this week they were able to cut it down to twice a week. Thank goodness!! Dave feels like they've been able to make some progress, but it has been --and still is-- a big learning curve. Dave went on a business trip last Mon-Wed. to Monterey, California for a training conference. It was exhausting for him-- and me. We're really glad that he's back!! He will probably go on another business trip to Taiwan and Singapore at the end of the month. He just keeps getting busier and busier!

The kids are both doing well. Jared had his kindergarten music program on Thursday night. He looked so grown up as he sat there on the school auditorium stage, picking his nose, waiting for it to start. =] OK, joking aside, he really did look grown up and it was hard to realize that he really isn't a toddler/preschooler any more. He's an honest-to-goodness grade schooler. It made me feel a little pang to realize that he really has grown out of being our baby "Mr.-Honey-Guy." It even made me emotional listening to them sing "Hop Old Squirrel"-- OK, I must be pregnant. Incidentally, the kindergarten kids were 100+ and took up the entire stage while the parents filled the whole auditorium.

I'm starting to have a little more energy. Aside from going semi-comatose for 10 hours a night, coming up with strange meal combinations like tacos and Stove Top stuffing, fighting off morning lethargy and emotional mood swings, having trouble summoning enough energy to leave the house, craving Top Ramen (yes, me the would-be gourmet.... I've made Top Ramen once since we left BYU, only to say, "Yep, it's as gross as I remember it," but now I have it about 2-3 times a week...mmm.... so good), feeling queasy at strange smells, and obsessing over whether I show yet (no, I just look like I've gained 3 pounds... and I have), I'm almost back to normal.... ha ha. I got my ten-week pregnancy email yesterday, informing me that our almost-one-inch-baby-the-size -of-a-grape has grown into a just-more-than-an-inch-baby-the-size-of-a-kumquat. Our baby is "officially" no longer an embryo. The most important (brain, etc.) development has already taken place and now the tissues and organs will mature rapidly. Sniff.... they grow up so fast.
My new project is trying to attack our backyard. At the end of the summer, we were wise enough to mix compost, manure and topsoil into the edging borders of our yard, making the soil rich and fertile and perfect for growing... weeds. Tons of them... the whole winter long. So I have spent hours upon hours over the course of days-- and maybe weeks now-- removing knee-high weeds from the border of our yard. Ah yes, there are few things I enjoy more than lovingly, tenderly attacking weeds with shovel and bare hands, trying to remove patches of knee-high grass that is firmly entrenched in soil that is now rock hard. I much prefer my container gardening: it's efficient and works for the lazy. You just dump dirt, dump a plant and you're ready to go. If only it all could be so easy.

While I was gardening today, Camryn fell asleep on the Lovesac in the middle of the afternoon. That should have been a tipoff that something was up. I took Jared to T-Ball practice at the YMCA and Camryn didn't want to go to childwatch or rock climb. She just wanted to sit and have me hold her on my lap. Tipoff number two... On the way home, I decided to stop and get gas and halfway to the gas station I heard the lovely sounds of regurgitation in the back seat and Jared yelling, "Mom! Camryn's barfing! Mom! It stinks in here! Mom! This is gross! It stinks!" After throwing up for what seemed (from the front seat) an interminable period of time, Camryn sagely observed, "Last time I barfed it was white. This time I barfed orange." It made me feel bad that I pushed her to finish her carrots at lunch.

So we turned around, went home and I spent 45 minutes cleaning out Camryn's clothes, car seat and the car upholstery. I figured I should clean up the archeological ruins under and around Jared and Camryn's car seat while I was at it. The floor of the car and the crevice under the front seat were like Mary Poppins bag: stuff just kept coming and coming and coming... stuff that had no business fitting in a space that small. Among the ruins was... an umbrella, 5 water bottles, a red robin cup, 1/2 a ream of paper, an ikea box full of markers and enough food to feed a third world country. Despite the unfortunate incident, Camryn seems to be feeling a little better now.

I hope you all are doing well. Love,

Quotes of the Week:

Mom: Camryn, change out of those brown pants to some that match your pink striped shirt.
Camryn: No mom, these brown pants WORK with the pink shirt, just like your blue pants work with your red shirt.

Camryn: I always like my Hello Kitty backpack. It sparkles. If the arm thing breaks than you can just sew it on with your sew-er thing.

Jared: One day he had this 20 minute spiel about how he is going to build a space ship and go to space and how Cameron Olsen was going to fly in his space ship and Cameron's mom could fly in my space ship and how it will be so fun. At the end of the spiel about how great this would be, he said, "I will fly the space ship and If I don't know how to fly a space ship, I'll just go to spaceship.com."

Jared saw me writing this just now. I told him I was telling our family about how we are going to go to space. He said: "They would want to know that we're going to space. I can't wait until we build our spaceships and go to space. It will be fun!"

Monday, May 14, 2007

News... BIG News

No, we are not moving to Phoenix in 3 weeks... =]

We are having another baby!

I will be 10 weeks along tomorrow. The newest member of our clan is anticipated to arrive on December 11th, although I will probably be induced around December 4th. Our OB took one look at Jared and Camryn's respective birth weights-- 9 lb. 11 oz and 9 lb. 15 oz.-- and said, "How would you feel about being induced a week early?

I just had my first appointment on Friday. I had an ultrasound and got to see the baby's heartbeat as well as him/her wiggling, squirming and changing positions every 10 seconds. It really is miraculous to see a tiny human being at 9 1/2 weeks. I included the pictures from the ultrasound. It's kind of hard to distinguish between the blobs in the photo, but inside the kidney bean-shaped sac, you can see a light-bulb shaped blob that is baby's head, beneath which you can see two small round arms buds. Under that there is a large round blob that is baby's abdomen, followed by two small round blobs at the bottom, which are baby's leg buds.

After being blessed with a nearly nausea-free pregnancy with Camryn, I have been re-inducted into the "morning sickness stinks" club. Luckily, I'm not deathly ill, just enough to be exhausted, uncomfortable and unproductive. =] Re-introducing "friday pajama day" has helped and as long as nobody expects anything productive from me before 1:30 pm, we're fine. This week, the constant exhaustion seems to be going away a little, so hopefully I'll be getting my energy back soon!

So that is our news for the week... we hope you all had a great mother's day. Love,


Friday, May 4, 2007

Life Keeps Me [S]hopping

Well, I guess it's about time to break the silence from the Oregon Porters. Did you all enjoy a whole month without being inundated with an overly-long update? So first I have to catch up a little bit. It's been a while....

Going back to where I left off, in the weeks following my last update I spent an inordinate amount of time shopping trying to find decorating items that could possibly repair the brown-paper-bag colored bathroom into a state of decorative loveliness. My dogged determination and focus was rewarded: I have now decorated the downstairs bathroom to my satisfaction and it looks lovely. Brown-paper-bag was an excellent choice of color. In the meanwhile I enjoyed a major shopping kick with some killer bargains. Excuse me while I brag here: I found an embroidered cream-colored dupioni silk valance for $2.97, a set of Oneida silverware for $11 (4 place settings) and $30 (8 place settings), a bronze colored curtain rod for about $15, and a huge bronze-colored framed mirror for the wall for $30! I filled different shaped glass bottles with sea shells, potpourri and river rocks to make a cute accent piece for our shelf (and they only cost about $2 each! Woohoo!) I even made a beautiful wallhanging out of a grapevine wreath and silk flowers. I'm getting so craftsy here it's starting to worry my mother that her real daughter has been abducted by aliens. Between all of my bargains I keep wondering where all the money I saved went....

Several weeks ago I went with to a girls overnight at my friend Ranell's condo at the Oregon coast. I actually got 6 scrapbook pages done, in between playing tennis (ar at least attempting to play) and talking. The next weekend, Dave and the kids and I went to the coast with Ranell and Brian stayed in their timeshare (upstairs from their condo). Ranell, the kids and I drove out early on Thursday and took the kids to the aquarium and to the very windy and cold beach. The guys drove out Friday night. We had a great time on Saturday swimming, playing tennis, and going to the beach. After church on Sunday we drove to see a lighthouse and flew kites. It was really a fun trip: an ocean view condo with swimming, tennis, etc. If anyone is ever interested in coming to Oregon for a family reunion (hint, hint), we found a good place to have it (on the girls overnight trip, Ranell talked to several ladies about the possilbity of renting it out, so it's an option if anyone's interested sometime).

Easter came and went. That morning we hosted a choir rehearsal complete with muffins and croissants, after whice we raced to church and I played for 3 choir numbers- which all went well. For the closing hymn, we sang the "adaptation" that I did of "I Believe in Christ" for the primary choir back in Menlo Park, and it was awesome. There's nothing like being able to crank the organ up to full volume, with all the stops and get away with it. =] We did primary, came home and had Easter dinner with 2 families in our ward, complete with an egg roll. Jared's friend Connie won the egg roll (winning out against her mom in the finals). She was so excited about it that her mom almost boiled more eggs so she could do an egg roll again for family night the next day. =]

During April we had a little lull in Dave's work schedule and he actually came home by 6:30 or 7:00 every day. I almost sent out an email like Lisa's to announce it, entitled, "NEWS!!! BIG NEWS!!!!", but then I thought better of it. At the beginning of May, Dave was switched to a new project (again). So now he's back into the normal grind, complete with conference calls to Taiwan most days at 6 pm (I guess it's 9 am Taiwan time-- can't they just come in at 8?). I'm still playing for the Sherwood Chorale for their "Wicked" number (although I'm wondering how I got talked into it), and this week I'm finally getting a little less frustrated at rehearsals, especially after a huge frustration week last week. Last week on the song, "Defying Gravity," in which the choir has tricky rhythms and the accompanist has different syncopated rhythms that don't line up with the choir, the choir repeatedly got one beat behind by entering late. Instead of meekly and mildly accepting the insinuation that this was my fault for playing my part wrong and that I should just leave out the notes on the offbeats (which showed where the choir was off), I told the choir that they were doing it wrong and played it out for them (although I had the sense to omit the "I've sat at my piano and thunked this out with a metronome over and over, so don't you try to tell ME I'm doing it wrong!"). There was a wave of astonishment from the choir as it was such a rhythm as they had never imagined. After more practice, this week we finally got it more or less right and together. I still have not learned that a good accompanist always keeps her mouth shut and says, "Yes, sir."

In other news, on April 21st, my parents flew out for a short visit. We took them to Multnomah Falls and Powells' Books. Mom came to a Stake Relief Society conference where I got to play piano background music for dessert and then we pretty much spent the remaining 3 days they were here relaxing. Just by coincidence, Mom and Dad were here for Grandparents Day at Jared's school, so they got to go to school with Jared. Jared started T-Ball this week at the YMCA. Camryn loves it because she can rock climb during his practice. We also finally got the leak in our ceiling fixed. Now we have a beautiful gash in the ceiling next to the dining room table while we wait for it to dry out so the drywall can be repaired. Luckily it was covered by our home warranty....

On the 27th, Dave and I went to Cannon Beach for our Anniversary. We left the kids with some friends and had a great time eating yummy food, walking on a very windy beach and poking around fun little shops. On the evening of the 28th was our ward talent show. I was in the final number-- a choreographed swing dance with 8 relief society sisters from our ward. It was really cute and we were actually pretty good-- we even had cute black and white polka dot dresses leftover from a dance festival, but I was SO glad for it to be over. We had been rehearsing two times a week for several weeks and I was getting so sick of being gone at night when Dave is actually home.

So now I'm basically going through burnout: I'm tired and lazy and seriously considering re-instating Friday as Official Pajama Day. It seems like I deal with stress-out and burn out by trying to clear everything from my schedule and then cooking to entertain myself. So far this week we have had Thai Peanut Noodles, Spinach Ricotta Pappardelle, Fajitas with homemade tortillas and Applesauce Puffs. Unfortunately we have only had a load or two of dishes in the middle of all that and it shows. I wonder if lack of dish-doing ability can qualify as a major disability? Maybe I could get a government grant or a parking placard or at least a discount on paper plates. =]

Yesterday was Jared's student-led conference at his school. He got to show me some of his work, including his "Writer's Workshop:" a weekly assignment to draw a picture and then write about it. It gave great insight as to what is memorable to a 5-year-old: "Last year at my birthday party we had Cheetos. They were yummy." "For spring break we got an ice cream cone. It was so fun!" "My grandma is coming tomorrow." "My grandpa played with me on the play set. It was so fun!"

So that's life in Oregon. I have figured out that Oregon spring weather is much worse than the Oregon winter: in the winter you expect it to rain and sometimes it surprises you with sun. In the spring, it teases you with enough beautiful sunny days that you think it's here to stay and then it starts raining again. But now they have fresh strawberry shakes at Burgerville, so all is well. Nothing like getting fresh strawberry chunks stuck in your straw with whipped cream to clear the rainy blues. =]

I hope you are all doing well. Love,


Camryn: Mom, aliens drink potty water.
Me: No, Camryn I don't think so.
Camryn: Yes they do mom! I saw it on "Arthur."
Jared on the phone to Grama Rogers: "Grama, there's a new sport in this world. It's called T-Ball."
We were driving home one day and while we were stopped at a stoplight, Camryn waved to two women in a truck. Then she said, "Those people like me!" and she rolled down her window and said, "My mommy unpacked my rainbow shirt. We're going to Taco Bell for dinner."

Jared: Easter is the best day ever. We get lots and lots of candy and we celebrate that Jesus was resurrected.