Sunday, June 24, 2007

Adventures and Excitement

Hello everyone,

We had another week full of amazing adventures and excitement. Among our week highlights... Jared now has two very loose teeth. His two bottom front teeth are pretty much hanging on by a thread while his adult teeth are coming in behind them. He informs me that he can't eat anything hard until his teeth comes out. He also spends large amounts of time diligently wiggling his teeth to speed their removal from his mouth.

This week I continued with my cooking adventures. It seems that I always have some fetish thing that I'm currently wasting money on. Since I've already cycled through paint color samples, curtains, home decorating stuff, scrap-booking supplies and plants for the garden, my latest spending item is... cooking ingredients. Yes, it is less dangerous than many other things I could be spending money on, but it is still money spent. I've also encountered the weird phenomenon of trying to cook more things faster to keep using up all of my ingredients before they go bad. So on Tuesday, dutifully using a lot of ingredients, I made Sausage Polenta Lasagna with zucchini and salad. This dish sounded fabulous to me, so I was really excited to try it. Jared did not share my enthusiasm and only with great persuasion was he induced to try one bite, which instantly convinced him of this dish’s hideous flavor. C'mon, it's basically cornbread and sausage with cheese. How bad can it be? Apparently bad enough that he was downing large quantities of zucchini to try to fill up. At least I didn't have to pester him to eat his vegetables. Camryn on the other hand, saw this as a great opportunity to kiss up and told me repeatedly, "I like it mommy. I REALLY like it. It's very yummy," although when it came down to it, she only ate a few bites more than Jared. Dave came home and ate it and said it was pretty good. Apparently he did not recognize the need to gloat and celebrate how glorious my cooking is after it has been repeatedly panned and abused by my children.

Wednesday the kids had a trip to the dentist. Jared got sealants on his teeth while Camryn had a teeny filling. Camryn was surprisingly good for her filling, which was done with no shot and abrasion instead of a drill. As a reward we got Costco pizza for lunch and then went on a marathon trip through Costco, Target and Fred Meyer. Our trip to Fred Meyer resulted in a plethora of new ingredients, so we had a remarkably good dinner of steak with baked potatoes, cream of broccoli soup, Mexican Chunk Vegetable Salad and fresh watermelon and cantaloupe. So now instead of a plethora of ingredients, we have a plethora of leftovers.

Thursday we had an uneventful morning of housecleaning. That afternoon I took the kids to swim at the YMCA. They rode the waterslide about a hundred times and I ended up catching not only them, but some other random kid whose mother apparently thought I worked there. This wouldn't have bugged me except he kept going down face first and backwards, making him somewhat difficult to catch. After a tasty leftover night, we went to meet some friends at the McDonald's play place and have an ice cream cone. I would like to insert here that I have done the dishes immediately after dinner every night this week. Strangely, my kitchen has stayed very clean all week. On Thursday, for the first night this week I missed doing the dishes and alas, the kitchen has been dirty ever since.... After McDonalds, I put the kids to bed and entertained myself until bedtime. I had a hard time going to sleep and so did Dave--- though for different reasons. He didn't get home until 3:00 am.

Friday I took the kids to our ward park day at Wilsonville Town Center. The park has a huge fountain/water feature (roughly 10 feet wide and 40 feet long). The kids happily played in the water for hours, despite the typical Oregon cycle of sun/clouds/sun/clouds/sun. When they had sufficiently exhausted themselves, we had lunch at Wendy's. They got chicken nuggets, fries and mandarin oranges, but they didn't get a happy meal or ice cream because while we were walking in they were arguing over who got to hold my "ring hand." I had warned them that if they kept fighting they wouldn't get a toy or a treat, but they were undeterred. Nonetheless, Jared was very miffed when we ordered our food and he found out that he wasn't getting a toy or ice cream. I told him he wasn't getting it because they were fighting over my ring hand. "You aren't letting us have a toy or ice cream because we were fighting? That's really weird, mom." I replied that I thought it was weird that they would fight over something as silly as which hand they got to hold. Jared said, "No, mom, you're just really weird." After lunch we looked in a pet store that happened to be next to Wendy's. We oohed over the cute puppies and Jared started to lobby for getting a pet sooner than when he turns ten. Unfortunately, in the room with the puppies, there was a leather-looking ottoman with a large bite taken out of it. I considered this a bad omen for our leather couches, so we went to look at turtles.

The rest of Friday we went trekking around Tigard and Beaverton to return an item and buy another pair of clearance maternity pants from a different Target. It was truly a complete waste of an afternoon. Speaking of other notable happenings, Friday I wore maternity capris for the first time. My two pairs of pants that still fit were both dirty, so I finally succumbed to the indignity. They were actually cute and not obviously maternity, but they had one problem. My tummy, though starting to protrude, is not really that big yet and not big enough to hold up my maternity pants, which have a large wide elastic waist. So all day I was faced with the pants problem typical to Camryn: they fall down to the spot of smallest girth, which, strangely enough, is now my hips. So I faced a day of sag and pull, sag and pull. I guess I can at least sympathize with Camryn now.

After our afternoon of wandering around, I made delicious Cashew Chicken for dinner. I was ticked that the cashews I bought specifically to make this dish were strangely almost gone when I opened the can (despite the assurances I had been given that if we opened them early there would still be lots left for my meal). So we had Chicken with Cashew Garnish. The kids heartily approved of the accompanying white rice with butter. They even tried some of the chicken and pronounced it "pretty good" and then didn't eat much more of it. I put the kids to bed and was making muffins to amuse myself around 10:00 pm when Dave called to say that they were running a wafer through the tool and if it worked he would come home in about 15 minutes and if it didn't he would probably be there all night, but that he was really optimistic that it would work. I have not yet succumbed to the triumph of hope over experience, so after making a second batch of muffins (triple berry yogurt muffins just didn't hit the spot... I needed the applesauce muffins dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar) I put in a movie and watched it happily -or at least contentedly- by myself. (BTW, I just have to say I'd forgotten how funny the scene in "Hitch" is where after the breakup, Sara's moping on the couch, watching the cheesy "You had me at hello" part of "Jerry Maguire," crying and squirting whipped cream out of the can directly into her mouth.) Dave actually did get home before dawn, arriving around 3:00 am, starving and worn out. Luckily I had cold Chicken with Cashew Garnish and muffins to save the day.

Surprisingly, Dave and I were both zombies on Saturday morning. So we spent the morning taking turns fending off the kids with alternating doses of muffins and cartoons. So after sleeping WAY longer than I care to mention in this email, we finally got up and ate some muffins ourselves and got started on the day. After working in the yard for a while, we went on the Saturday trek to Home Depot to get stuff to try to fix our sprinkler setup. Then we took the kids berry picking at Gramma's Place (about a mile from our house). We were lucky to catch the end of the strawberries and the beginning of the raspberries, so we got both. Camryn stood happily holding a bucket saying, "Thank you for helping me pick berries, mommy and daddy," while Dave and I crouched on the ground looking for strawberries. Then we went to the raspberries and picked until Camryn and Jared were complaining incessantly about the pokies on the ground and we had about half a bucket of each. I didn't check beforehand how expensive they were, so I was a little worried that we'd picked so much. Besides, they were charging us $1.25 each for the buckets. I picked up some zucchini and bananas and our total came to $11, including buckets. So we ended up paying about $3 each for a half a bucketful of fresh berries. So we went home and happily gorged on berries by the handful. We then took the kids to "bouncer day," which was actually a bunch of bouncers set up to advertise a fireworks stand. Dave happily bought some while the kids bounced at $3 a pop. Meanwhile I picked up Papa Murphy's which we quickly ate before I ran off to play the organ for the adult session of stake conference.

Now is it just me or is the adult session of Stake Conference discriminatory against people whose children are younger than age 12? I called probably 5 different babysitters and all of them were booked already or, surprise, babysitting for their parents to go to the session. So I went by myself and Dave stayed home to watch the kids. I got a good laugh out of the second hymn, "Love at Home." Despite it's uplifting message, it has never been one of my favorite hymns, partly because it always seems to turn into a dirge that goes on forever-- as we sing we are given hours to contemplate the "beauty all around" and "joy in every sound" which seems to last interminably ( i.e. LU-U-U-V A-A-A-T HO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-ME, LUUUUUV AAAAAAAT HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME). My friend who was conducting was debating whether to conduct it in two instead of four, so I thought she would agree with an up-tempo rendition of it. She did end up conducting it in 4 (as written), but when we sat down she said that she could barely keep up with me, I was taking it so fast. I, on the other hand, actually enjoyed the hymn for a change, like the pleasant feeling of a brisk walk instead of the frustration of being stuck behind a slow dump truck. The other thing my friend who was conducting mentioned is that when she used to play the organ in the ward, there was a woman who used to criticize her for taking hymns to slow and making them too "boring." Apparently this same woman was sitting in the front, grinning from ear to ear.

After completing my hymn and postlude responsibilities, I returned home to Dave. Ready for some evening relaxation, I changed into work clothes and we worked in the yard. Dave tried yet again to figure out a hose sprinkler system that will actually water our yard while I finished planting some plants. Finally, when it was 10:30 or 11:00 and too dark to do anything else, we went inside and settled on the LoveSac to watch a movie. The movie was over and we were discussing one of the talks at Stake Conference or some other random topic when Jared came downstairs informing us that he had just barfed. We immediately went to survey the damage and he had not just barfed, he had sent white and red chunks flying into his sheets, over the side of the bunk bed, into all the cracks in the wood, onto Camryn's bed and onto the white carpet below. After attempting to clean up this disaster in the dark, we finally turned on the lights, which woke up Camryn, who was delighted with watching the proceedings and reminding us several times, "I didn't barf like Jared did." By the time we cleaned up the sheets, mattress pad, mattress, carpet, wood and everything else that had been hit by the projectile vomit, put the kids back to bed with barf buckets and towels, and finally climbed in bed ourselves, it was almost 3:00 am.

So, surprisingly, this morning we were zombies again. We took turns telling the kids to go play for a few more minutes until finally I got up to put on a scripture video for them and pour cereal for Camryn and get a breakfast of saltines and Gatorade for Jared. Jared seemed to be feeling much better, so maybe it was just an overdose of berries by the bucketful, combined with jumping on a bouncer and pizza that didn't agree with him. We did end up going to Stake Conference at 12:00 and amazingly enough, we even got there before it started. We went the whole day without any other unpleasant stomach incidents. We completed the day with a visit from our home teachers and then Dave and I going comatose for two hours in the afternoon, followed by taking turns trying to convince the kids to play just a FEW minutes longer before we got up to make dinner. We had a gourmet dinner of waffles and berries (Jared and Camryn both declined the berry part of the dinner) before putting the kids to bed.

Anyway, hope you had a week equally full of excitement and adventure.


Quotes of the Week:

Camryn: (interrupting the prayer) "And bless that I won't have the scary jellyfish dream."

Camryn: (giving the prayer) "And please bless that there will be no volcanoes or hot lava in our house."

Dave and Jared were having a discussion at dinner of different ways to pull his loose teeth out. After Jared vetoed plans to attach his teeth to a car and then drive away or tie his tooth to a brick and then throw it out the window, Jared said, "I don't think the brick is a good idea. A brick is heavier than a car."

Today Jared read some of "Tarzan" to Camryn, word for word, out of the book!

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