Friday, September 14, 2007

School Days

Hello everyone,

I'm going to skip ahead and write an update for this past week before continuing with my travel updates.

As I mentioned, Jared started 1st grade and Camryn started 4's preschool the first week of September. So after years of waiting, my "me" time is finally here! I have three mornings a week with no children! And Jared doesn't get home every day until 2:30. So of course, now this means that with all of this "spare time" on my hands my house is always perfectly cleaned and organized. Right? Right????

To be honest, it's actually been quite a transition for us, even besides getting Jared off on the bus at 7:30 am again. It is really a strange feeling to have Jared gone. For the first few days, as soon as the time came that Jared would have come home from Kindergarten, Camryn would get whiny and clingy and want lots of attention. I think she actually misses him. This seems odd to me since they basically just fight and tease each other all day, but I can't think of any other explanation.

Now that school has begun, I realized that now the time to become a domestic goddess has begun. After all, now that Jared's in school, what's my excuse? So I celebrated the first day of school by doing 3 loads of laundry, scouring two bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen and scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees. By the end of the day, I literally was so tired that I could not stand up. (The house still wasn't clean when I finished.) And I have been exhausted ever since. I made 3 important observations in the process: 1) I really am pregnant-- and the third trimester is hitting me like a brick. 2) I need to learn to pace myself or I am not going to survive. 3) You cannot travel for 3 1/2 weeks in a single month without a huge amount of catch-up to do when you come back.

Now all of this wouldn't be such a big deal except that two days into school we had a meeting of our cooking enrichment group. A wonderful, beautiful, talented lady in our ward invited us over to show us how to make and can applesauce. So I canned for the very first time and brought home a jar of homemade applesauce as proof. (What is it that you said, Mom-- that you only have to can twice to automatically make it to the celestial kingdom. This means I'm halfway....). So this was a great activity: it was fun and really wasn't as hard as I expected. But.... I was so impressed by her impeccably clean house, her attractive appearance, cheerful nature, and mad canning skills (she cans 35 jars of applesauce, plus peaches and raspberries every year!!) that I was absolutely inspired. Now that Jared is in school, it is the time for me to get my act together! I determined that now I would make sure that my house was clean like hers, that I was dressed each morning before 11-- or at least 10-- with make-up on, that I would be cheerful and happy AND I was going to buy canning stuff and start being a real mom. The problem was, I came home to 6 loads of dirty laundry, 2 clean loads that needed to be folded, a dirty kitchen with an abundance of dishes, 1 stinky bathroom, no groceries in the fridge, a bedroom full of stuff to be sorted and a pile of bills to be paid. So canning would have to wait for a few hours. And the end result is that I have been working like a dog for a week, exhausted every night and I am still not caught up and I haven't BOUGHT any canning stuff, let alone canned anything. So the end result is that I have had a hard adjustment to Jared being in school and have spent this past week absolutely exhausted. Needless to say, I am starting to realize that my plans for complete domestic mastery may have to wait for another year. To sum it up, I will quote a sign that one of my friends from California bought me for my birthday (it fittingly hangs in my continuously messy kitchen): "Cleaning a house while children are growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing."

But, on the upside, Jared is enjoying 1st grade and Camryn loves being back in preschool. On Sunday, Jared taped paper together to create a 3-dimensional triangular shape. He attached a pencil stuck with paper clips and informed me that he had made a beehive for bees to make honey in. He insisted that we spread honey on the top of it and hang it on our deck so he could watch the bees (this was after a 20-minute detailed explanation of how it was supposed to work). Camryn has been making paper butterflies, with a crayon "holder" in the middle and a crayon to weight it on each side (taped to the paper). A few days ago she drew a detailed picture of Grama Rogers, complete with teeth, glasses and large green ears. Jared is also proving that he really is turning into a boy: he repeatedly demonstrates his prowess at burping on command and can even burp some of the alphabet.

One afternoon this week I had hit my exhaustion point, so I let the kids watch cartoons for a few minutes while I checked my email. The "few minutes" expanded into an hour and a half. When I finally came down to check on the kids, luckily they had only caused minor damage to the kitchen (shredded wheat crushed on the floor and go-gurt dried on the floor and counters). Camryn was eating food and carrying a shopping bag. I asked her what was in it and she said she had packed a snack, in case she was hungry. Apparently she must have been worried that I was never going to feed her again: she had packed 6 go-gurts, 5 string cheeses, grapes, cheez-its, snap peas and 2 apples. I guess this is a girl who wants to be prepared....

In other news, Dave and I were released from Primary music. I was called to be the ward choir director!!!! I am so excited-- I have only been waiting for 5 years to get called to do this again. So now I have a new thing to obsess over-- and believe me, I have spent obscene amounts of time pondering over music choices, planning rehearsals, trying to recruit people, sorting music, making flyers, putting together music binders, etc. and enjoying every minute of it. The guy who was called to replace me in Primary will be gone on the day of the primary program, so I will actually be conducting for the program still and sticking around to help out with that for a while.

There is one other tidbit of interesting news. On Saturday, instead of our usual routine of getting up late and having a leisurely breakfast, Dave was up, dressed, and had eaten breakfast by 9:00 am. He had to return some things to Fry's Electronics and asked if I wanted to go. I wanted to sort choir music, so I told him to just go himself and take one of the kids. So he and Jared went off to Fry's. When they came back, Dave said, "Ummmm, Karen, guess what? They had a Nintendo Wii in stock at Fry's........... and I got one." I knew that Dave had wanted a Wii, that they are out of stock almost everywhere and he had been kind of trying to find a place where they were in stock, but I had no idea he was serious. (I should have known better when he was up and ready to go out the door at 9:00 on a Saturday-- he had called and found out they had some in stock-- he just neglected to pass that detail on to me). So we had a discussion. Dave: "The Wii is really fun and interactive. You don't play shoot-em-up games, you play tennis or bowling and play with other people instead of zoning off by yourself. They are REALLY fun." Me: "I guess I don't really have a problem with it if the games aren't violent, but that's kind of a BIG impulse purchase. Are you sure we need to get it NOW?" Dave: "Well, you did go to New York this summer...." End of discussion. So we now have a Wii. And it is really fun. Dave spent Saturday afternoon playing Wii tennis and baseball with the kids. I really enjoy playing Wii as long as I can relax accept the fact that Camryn is usually better than me.

So that was last week. For the sake of not having a 10 page update I will wait to put my remarks on this week in a separate email. Hope you all are doing well!



Quotes of the week:

Camryn (saying her prayers): "Please bless that I won't have the scary jellyfish dream. Please bless that I won't have the scary shark dream. And please bless that I won't have the scary smoke detector dream."

[This is typical for the past year...] Me: "Jared, what do you want for your bedtime song?" Jared: "'Where Can I Turn for Peace' and a back-scratch." [Now he specificies, "Where Can I Turn for Peace and a back-scratch and the second and third verses."] Camryn: "I want 'I Love to See the Temple' and a backscratch." [Note: Where can I find someone to sing me to sleep and give me a backscratch? It sounds nice.]

Jared: "Today was the 3rd or maybe 18th bad day I've had. Camryn got to do 5 things that I didn't do."

Jared: "Today I am really sad because there were 3 or maybe 16 sad things that happened, like I didn't get a dinner treat, Camryn got to say her prayer first....

Camryn: "Mommy, I washed my hair with water and soap so I look fabulous. But mom, don't kiss my hair because then I'll have to wash it again with just water."

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