Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hitting... or Missing the Target

Hello Everyone,

We are back after a week at Dave's family reunion in Bountiful, Utah. After a week of being dehydrated by Utah's dry heat, I think I must have been a bit too smug about returning to our much superior summer climate... the heat seems to have followed us home have had several days of being roasted alive (OK, don't laugh you Phoenix people). =] It has cooled off some and it is supposed to cool off more next week, so here's hoping!

I guess our major events of the past few weeks were getting off to the reunion and getting home. I wanted to do something to make the drive more fun for my kids, so I decided to take them to Target and let them help me pick out some treats for the long car trip to Utah. We don't usually buy a lot of junk food, so I figured this was a great opportunity to regress. Two hours later we walked out of Target with our treats and the few items we needed to buy, still all alive and speaking to each other (barely...). In the process of this two hour trip to Target, I learned a few valuable lessons. 1) Don't try to do things for your kids that are fun or exciting. It only gives them new material to fight over and they will whine that they aren't getting more than you are offering them. 2) Never offer your children choices and try to come to a point of mutual agreement. Democracy is overrated. 3) Don't negotiate with your children. Diplomacy is overrated.

In the process of trying to choose cookies, chips and candy to take on the trip, I spent about 90 minutes on the treat aisles listening to my children try to persuade each other to the merits of Pringles vs. Cheetos, Swedish Fish vs. sour watermelons and EL Fudge vs. Scooby Graham Cracker bones. The argument over cookies was particularly bitter, with Jared lobbying hard for scooby snacks and Camryn insisting that her life could not be complete without EL Fudge. Instead of doing what a good mother should have done (leaving the store immediately with no treats), I thought, "This will be a great opportunity to learn to discuss and compromise on a disagreement." I obviously had either forgotten how old my children were or had not spent much time recently around 4 and 5 year olds. We ended up indeed reaching a compromise: Jared and Camryn each chose a box of cookies and mom chose everything else, along with a threat to throw it all away if there was so much as a whisper of complaint. As a postscript, after Camryn's valiant battle to get EL Fudge, she was so excited when I finally gave her one to eat in the car. She took one bite and said, "Mom, I don't like these."
The family reunion was great... all of Dave's siblings were there and we had a blast. I suppose there wasn't much eventful to write about... it was all fun and anybody who would care to hear about it was actually there. We had a formal family photo taken (which involved two hours of intense wardrobe deliberation to coordinate outfits for the ladies), went to the lake to do wave runners and have a picnic, went bowling, and made the requisite trip to Cafe Rio. We filled in our time with ping pong and speed scrabble tournaments. We also enjoyed a fabulous 4th of July meal, courtesy of Dave, Jen and myself. =]

Alas, too quickly the trip was over and everyone went home. Except Dave and I. We debated intensely for half a day whether the kids and I should stay longer or go home and at the end of it we all ended up going home too. Dave and I are both hyper-analytical and tend to operate under the assumption that more deliberation and analysis will lead to a better, swifter outcome. I think we have proved that this is not true, in fact it is often the opposite... sometimes you just have to pick one and more deliberation doesn't add anything.

So home we went. We made it through Sunday, but Monday morning dawned with no groceries. Given our trip to Utah and our other upcoming trips this summer, I thought it would be a good time to turn over a new leaf of economy and thrift-- at least in my grocery spending. So I decided that when I went to Costco that day, I would go to Winco (located across the street) instead of the more expensive but closer to our house option of Safeway. We went to Costco and with the help of $1.50 hot dogs and lemonade made it through in reasonable time. Then we went to Winco to pick up 5 or 6 things that we needed that they didn't have at Costco. We weren't 5 minutes into the produce aisle when I was greeted with a chorus of "I have to go to the bathroom...." After a 10 minute detour we returned to our shopping. We slowly made our way through the store and I was perusing the dairy case when Jared urgently announced his need to go to the bathroom-- again. "Jared, you just went!" "But, mom, I really have to go!" Unfortunately his unusual walk combined with his taking the opportunity to sit on any low object he could find convinced me of the sincerity in his request. So off we went to the bathroom again. By the time we got out of the bathroom a second time, my brain was in total meltdown and my capacity for making logical decisions was at zero. Not only did I not stick to my list, but I spent about 10 minutes debating whether or not to get ice cream (should we get yummy treats or stick to the list? should we get yummy treats or avoid empty calories?) and another ten debating whether to get "Udderly Chocolate" or "Vanilla Bean" (should I go with the tried and true or try something new? the new may be yummy, but it could be too sweet like the last new ice cream flavor we tried... maybe I should just get strawberry) Maybe there is actually an inverse relationship between the amount of time spent deliberating and the positive outcome of a decision. We finally made it out of Winco. My "5 things" that I picked up came to almost $100. Maybe I would have been better off going to Safeway. We left for home a mere 3 1/2 hours after we left for our little shopping excursion.
Luckily, I had the foresight to throw our cooler in the trunk so all of our Costco groceries weren't rotten by the time we got out of Winco. We went home, put the groceries away and I took advantage of the time while the kids were watching a cartoon to look at Quicken and try to figure out where we are and reconcile the accounts. I spent a fulfilling two hours trying to close a savings account with .08 in it, finding out that I CAN'T close an old checking account from California over the phone because it has no money in it, and realizing that my Mastercard account wouldn't balance because they had automatically given us a new card with a new number (why we would need this I have no idea) and were transferring all purchases to the new card.

While I was spending these satisfying minutes on the phone with customer service asking "Why am I seeing additional transactions that are the exact opposite of every transaction I have made" I see Camryn walk by the office with a bucket of water and rags. "What are you doing?" I ask her in between sentences. "I'm washing the house," she replied. "What exactly are you going to wash?" I queried. "The house," she responded. A few minutes later I wandered out with the phone to find her splashing a window over the carpet with her wet rag. "Camryn, please clean something else that's not on the carpet. I'm on the phone..." I heard her say something about the floor and that sounded better so I said OK. Five minutes later Jared bursts in the room announcing, "Mommy! Camryn is making a huge mess! There's water everywhere." I go downstairs to find that Camryn had indeed been trying to create a river on our kitchen floor. "Camryn, what are you doing?" I asked. "Look, mom.," she said, "I'm washing the floor and now it sparkles!"

Anyway, to summarize the rest of our week, Dave left on Wednesday for a ten day Asian tour of Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. We had a fabulous day on Thursday picking raspberries and marionberries and swimming at the YMCA with friends. We had a less-than-fabulous couple of other days involving attempts to clean the house, going to a birthday party and otherwise trying to pass the time. Last night I took the kids to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner (I calculated that if I worked it right it could kill about 2 hours before bed). Unfortunately, Camryn fell asleep on the way there, there was a 20 minute line when we got there and then Camryn spent most of dinner with her head on my lap in between my attempts to prod some mac and cheese into her mouth. Jared, on the other hand, had a great time. Every time I turned my head he was heading back from the buffet: "Hey mom, I got more pizza" or "Look they have watermelon jello!" He was particularly proud of his ice cream sundae, making several return trips to perfect the toppings, ending with a 1/2 inch layer of oreo crumbs.
In pregnancy news, I'm now 18 weeks (19 weeks on Tuesday) and this week my belly popped out. Not that I looked un-pregnant before, but now there's no mistaking it: it's quite large. Not that I like being bigger, but it's at least nice that you can tell I'm not just putting on weight. I can feel the baby move pretty much every day now. (I felt the baby move for the first time at the family reunion.)

So, yes, lots of excitement and earth-shattering events. Hope you all are doing well.


Quotes of the Week:

Jared: "Mom, I have a joke. Why did the clock go to the restaurant? Because it wanted to spill all of the food dishes." (Laughter from Jared and Camryn. Silent groan from mom for the umpteenth time.) Camryn: "Why did the chicken go to the park? Because it wanted a soda!" Silence. Jared: "That's not funny."

We usually watch cartoons on PBS, but Jared has figured out how to use the remote control, so sometimes I catch them watching Nick Jr. or other programming. I think I have taken our former lack of commercials for granted.... Jared: "Mom, did you know that the chocolate milk with the bunny on it has more vitamins than regular milk?" Me: "How do you know that, Jared?" J: "Because it said so on TV. And if your bathroom smells bad you just need to get a thing that you plug in and it will smell good." Camryn: "Yeah, it even works while you are gone." J: "Yep, every 15 or 30 minutes."

Camryn: "Mommy, mommy! My primary teacher has a real baby! I was so nice to it. I held the baby and didn't even drop it. When we have a baby, I will be a good big sister. I will hold the baby and be gentle and not poke its eyes."

Camryn: (After cutting a pet food ad out of the paper) "I cut out a coupon for pet food for our dog." Jared: "Camryn, we don't need it. We don't have a dog yet." Camryn: "But we're going to get one." Jared: "But not for like five years."
Jared: "Mom, what will happen to a starfish if you touch it?" Me: "Good night, Jared." J:"Will it bite you?" Me: "No. Nothing will happen. Please put your head on the pillow, the lights are out already." J:"What will happen to a dried-out starfish if you put it in water?" Me: It will get squishy and yucky, a dried out starfish is dead. Have a good sleep! I'm going out now." J: "What if it's not dead yet?" Me: "GOOD NIGHT!!!!"

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