Monday, February 26, 2007

Camryn's Words

Today Camryn wrote a sign that said, "To Office Max" as follows:


Not bad...


Sunday, February 25, 2007

True Colors

Hello everyone,

It's been a while since I've written an update. I have been kind of busy, but mainly I've just been uninspired. My writing muse must be on vacation or something. Or maybe I just haven't been in the mood to poke fun at myself.... So going back abit, I guess I'll try to do a quick version of the past few weeks.

My mom went back to California on Feb. 7th and we were very sad to see her go... we were just getting started having fun. I had more choir rehearsals and then Saturday the 10th was my performance singing Beethoven's 9th with the Portland Mormon Choir and Willamette Falls Symphony. The performance went really well. We also sang "This is The Christ," "Witness", and Mack Wilberg's "Praise to the Lord the Almighty"- and they were awesome. I was very impressed with how our choir pulled off the Beethoven. The orchestra was not quite as good as we were =], but all in all it was a good concert. The concert was held at the Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin. It reminded me of a 2500 seat version of the conference center (except it had a Starbucks inside it... I wonder if it is open on Sundays?) They also did not have the inspired women's restroom design of the conference center: there were only 2 women's stalls in the backstage restroom- the line lasted for the entire intermission. It was a really nice church and a good concert venue. You know a church is big when they mark their parking lot sections with books of the bible so you can remember where you parked ("Hey honey, there's our car over in 1st Corinthians....").

The other notable occurence of that weekend is that Dave and I risked life and limb and hung a new chandelier in our entryway. This was a 12-light, 75 pound behemoth that we were trying to hang from a 20 foot ceiling, so this was no easy task. Dave, a true engineer, came up with the perfect solution: I stood on top of the alcove over our coat closet (it juts out next to the stairs) with a bar stool and we set the chandelier on the bar stool (with me holding it in place) while Dave attached the wiring so there wouldn't be weight on the chandelier chain while he was doing the wiring. It was a little too exciting for my taste, but the chandelier is hung and we are both still alive.

Other than that, we have had a pretty normal couple of weeks: Dave works long hours, trying vainly to make this infuriating machine work; I put off cleaning the house as long as possibly can and then go on a cleaning rampage, only to let the house fall apart again; Jared and Camryn play with friends, go to school, watch TV, use up humungous amounts of paper and dump toys on their floor.

After deciding that I absolutely could not live with our green bathroom, I decided to try decorating it first before repainting it. In this process I have discovered that I am a little bit neurotic: 2 trips to Costco, 4 trips to JCpenney, 1 trip to Target, 1 trip to Marshalls and 2 trips to TJMaxx later, I have finally found towels and bathmats that will work to create the right effect for our bathroom at a reasonable price. The good news is that I don't have to repaint the bathroom now: with the towels, bathmats, a picture on the wall and a floral arrangement it looks lovely. The bad news is that I could have hired someone to paint it twice with the amount of money I've spent on gas driving to all these different stores. But the insanity doesn't end there.... No, no, no. I have discovered that I have a very unique talent: wasting money on paint samples. Not being content to have painted our bathroom, I am now researching colors for our laundry room, office and master bedroom. I have used my laundry room to paint up color samples so we now have a lovely rainbow look: two shades of green, about four shades of beige, three shades of yellow, one way-cool aqua blue, one peach, and three purply-pinky browns (sadly, I am not exaggerating). In addition to that, for the first time, Dave and I have not been able to agree on a paint color (for our our bedroom), so in our bedroom we have one pinkish-taupe, two shades of sand, two pinky peach sands and a brownish-mauve. Like I said, it's a talent. Or insanity. The sadder thing is that I haven't noticed that painting a sample on the wall makes me any more able to determine what it will actually look like when the whole room is painted. Oh well. Amid all the frustration, I had a happy thought the other night. A few months ago we were stressed out and frustrated because we didn't know whether we were going to stay in school or leave, where we were going to live or what we were going to do with our lives. Now I'm stressed out because I'm having a hard time finding towels in the right color for the bathroom and we're having a hard time deciding on paint colors. I can deal with the change. =]

Primary has been going well. Last week we were playing "Name that Word" (I sing a song for them and when I stop, they have to tell me what word comes next). The game would have worked great, except that Camryn, our little sunbeam, kept blurting out all of the answers....

Jared is VERY excited because there is a BIG holiday this week. Tuesday is the 100th DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!! YES!! I'm not kidding! He gets to bring 100 of something in a baggie and they are going to have a party! You have no idea how big this is! Jared started playing indoor soccer and had his first game on Saturday. Camryn is taking a "ballerina class" at the YMCA. I still exercise at the YMCA whenever I get the chance.

We still occasionally see Dave. Dave made chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting with the kids today while I was at choir (Camryn was very upset at church because a bunch of kids in the hall had pink cupcakes and she WANTED one). I thought that was very fun that he did that with them. In other news, Dave's car broke down (the starter died) and has been sitting in our driveway for over a week now (Yes! I get to drive Dave to work again). I guess it's a chance to see Dave, so I won't complain. =] We've just been so busy that we haven't had a chance to get around to figuring out how we're going to get it fixed (ok, I admit that's pathetic). On Wednesday, I hosted the first meeting of a new Cooking Enrichment group. It was really fun. We made (surprise, surprise) Curried Chickpeas and my Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese. I also showed them how to sugar nuts since I figured nobody can live without that.

And so life goes on for the Porters. I hope you are all doing well.




Quotes of the Week:

Camryn: I wrote headache! (HDEC)

Camryn: (dragging around her sunday bag on the floor behind her) Look, mom. It's like a suitcase cuz we can slide it.

Jared: (After spraying and combing his hair, we went outside to wait for the bus and his friend Ally put on her hood because it was raining): I don't need a hood! I already have water in my hair.

Jared: When I grow up, I want to be a dad. And I will throw my kids to our Lovesac.

Camryn: Mommy, don't send me to the junkyard. People don't like to go to the junkyard. It makes them sad.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Music, Sweet Music

Hello everyone,

It's time for yet another installment of the famous update. We have just been plugging along with normal life. Last Monday I started doing a music class for Jared and Camryn and the 3 boys (between ages 3 and 7) of my old college roomate, Jacki, who lives about 30 minutes away. I figured that the only way I would ever get around to teaching music to my own kids would be if I knew someone else was going to show up on my doorstep. We decided to do it as a trade: I would teach a music class and then she would do some fun activities with the kids (she was an early childhood major in college and used to do a small preschool out of her home). We had a very rousing first class. The kids enjoyed it, but by the end of music class they were so worked up that after reading a story and a very short attempt at making pizzas out of felt that we just sent them outside to play. Then Jacki and I happily discussed paint colors while they played on the play structure, ending the day as an overall success.

On Monday afternoon, I got a phone call asking me if I could sub at the piano (instead of singing) at one of the upcoming choir rehearsals for the Portland Mormon choir. I agreed to it, but then read in an email that the Thursday rehearsal would be with the orchestra instead, so I was off the hook. On Monday night, I got a phone call from one of the singers in the choir asking if I could play for her to sing a solo at a stake RS enrichment night as a plug for the choir. I agreed to do it, even though we would just have enough time to run through it a few times before the performance and I would not have a copy of the music beforehand. So on Tuesday evening, Dave raced in from work, I rushed out the door with a tupperware of hastily packed dinner in hand, and I off I went for an evening of musical adventure. The rehearsal went fine and the piece wasn't too hard, except that it had a lot of tricky accidentals and the measures were REALLY long so it was hard to keep track of whether a note was still sharped or not. The performance was OK, but definitely not my best. Sometimes I really wish that I could preface performances with a disclaimer.

After our brief rehearsal/performance, I went back out to the car, finished my baked potato and drove to my choir rehearsal. I got there fairly early and went to sit in my section when I noticed the director looking at me funny. I went up and asked him, "Did you ask me to play for Thursday night's rehearsal or for the one tonight?" It turns out that I was confused and it was for TONIGHT that he had asked me to play. No problem, I guess. So I sat down and madly tried to scan my way through it before the rehearsal began. No problem, it's only Beethoven's 9th and I'm just trying to reproduce an entire orchestra. But as everyone knows, the key to playing orchestral reductions is to liberally leave things out. Unfortunately, with the way the music was written, it was very difficult to pick and choose what to leave out on the spot. To make matters worse, it was FAST. So I took a deep breath and prepared to bash and blunder my way through Beethoven's 9th. I asked the director which sections we were going to rehearse. He told me and then said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you. After we're done rehearsing these sections, the director of the Willamette Falls Symphony is going to come and we're going to do a complete run-through with him." Better and better. I did my best and gave a noble effort, but I just sounded crappy. To make it worse, I had a very hard time following the director. Maybe I just didn't have much peripheral vision left open for use, but I just couldn't follow his beat. Finally he stopped and said, "Let's try it again and this time can you leave out some more notes so we can go faster?" "I would love to leave out more notes, believe me," I replied. What can I say? It was a humiliating experience. A few minutes later, during a pause, one of the co-directors came up and said to me, "You were very kind for not walking out on the spot when he said that. You were following him just fine: he was just conducting it slow." That made me feel a little better. After that, the orchestra conductor came. I made it through the experience alive, but I don't think I made a fabulous impression on him. I wanted to hold up a sign that said, "I really can play the piano! I'm really not a musical idiot! I have never played this music before in my life!", but, alas, some things cannot be. At the end of the rehearsal, they did not even acknowledge that I played, let alone that I was basically doing it on the spot (Was it really that bad?). I went home from my rehearsal and made Dave listen to me rant for 30 minutes until I felt sufficiently calmed to go to bed.

Wednesday was a much more calming night. Dave and I decided to relax by watching a little bit of TV. We flipped through the channels and Dave selected "Futureweapons," an exciting show where they talk about how great it feels to ride in a huge truck through the desert with the capacity to blow up a small city. After I vetoed this exciting program, he switched to "The Man Whose Arms Exploded," a touching retelling of the story of a man's battle with steroids. At this point I hijacked the remote control. I found a suspense thriller called, "The Healing Gardens of New York." Two minutes into it Dave decided he couldn't stand all the suspense, so we switched to "Design to Sell" where we learned that you can't sell a house with a 3'x1' gash in the wood floor. We finally gave up and watched "American Idol" on our DVR. (If you ever wondered why it's so popular, now you know.)

I now have valid proof, once and for all, that having children decreases your brain cells. My mom flew in to visit on Thursday. On the way home from the airport I took her- of course- to that most famous Portland tourist attraction, Bob's Red Mill. After happily perusing the aisles, selecting some new grains, replenishing my supply of steel-cut oats (my new breakfast fetish), and picking out wheat rolls and yogurt pretzels to take home with me, I went to the check out, purchased my selections (along with whole-wheat peanut butter cookies for the kids) and went home. It wasn't until later that night when I was trying to locate my pretzels and dinner rolls that I realized that something was wrong. Apparently, after purchasing my selections, I obliviously took the peanut-butter cookies and kids to the car, leaving my other purchases behind in their sack at the cash register. So we were obliged to return to Bob's Red Mill a few days later to claim the bag of purchases that I forgot (which they were kind enough to put on hold for me when I called and told them that I was the scatterbrained woman who had left them there).

After two days of continuous house cleaning- so my mom would have an accurate view of how our house looks on a day-to-day basis- we were ready for her arrival. Despite not getting the floor mopped or the sink scrubbed, I was still late leaving to the airport in my haste to clean whatever I could at the last minute. We picked Camryn up early from preschool and headed off to Portland where we, at a random time of the afternoon, hit heavy traffic and so were even more late. Despite our tardiness in picking her up, my mom was still happy to see us. We have spent the last few days with exciting tours of downtown Sherwood, a trip to the park, the requisite trip to Mudpuddles toy store and a drive past the famous Hopkins Elementary School. Saturday we branched out by exploring some huge Portland fabric stores and returning to Bob's Red Mill for the long lost bag. We have continued our exciting adventures with a tour of the YMCA, looking at local model homes, a grand clearance sale spree at the mall and just generally being lazy. It has been a great trip!

Today at the mall Jared insisted that he wanted to use his "dollars" that he had saved up to buy a "puppy box" of See's chocolates for Valentine's Day. He carried a plastic ikea box full of pennies and other loose change all through the mall (dropping it all on the floor twice) until we got to See's. It turns out that he only had $1.55, so he promised to do jobs to earn the remaining money, so we'll see how that goes.... Hopefully we can replace his current approach: "Mom, I need to earn more money, so I'm going to look for it all around the house."

Tonight I had yet another choir rehearsal and managed to get hopelessly lost on the way to Oregon City, between missing the exit and turning the wrong way twice (you know it's bad when you see a sign that says, "You are now exiting the Urban Growth Boundary" as you head down a two-lane highway through the middle of nowhere). After a scenic tour of Gladstone and a beautiful pitch-black trip up Mt. Pleasant, I arrived at my rehearsal 45 minutes late. I did still get to have some rehearsal time before heading home again for a delicious dinner of cold cereal.

Hope you all are having a great week. Love,


Quotes of the week:

Jared: A diamond is really a rhombus.
Jared: I'm hungrier than you think I am.
Camryn: I'm going to sit here and think about how we should fix our stereo. (Jared broke the headphone jack: half of the headphone plug is permanently stuck in.)