Monday, June 30, 2008

My Sister's Keeper

I was just putting the kids to bed and was getting really frustrated with Camryn because she had not gotten into her pajamas like I had asked her. She said that she couldn't get in her jammies because she could only find shirts but no shorts to wear. (If that was the case, why didn't she tell me 10 minutes before when I first asked her to get in her jammies while I was nursing Jackson?)

I was getting frustrated with her and it didn't help that it was already way past bedtime. I finally went to go look for some pajamas for her, threatening that she was going to be in big trouble if they were there and she just hadn't looked hard enough. Just as I came into her room, I saw Jared sitting on Camryn's bed with her where she had been crying. He was holding up a pair of his pajama shorts, telling her that she could wear them because they were too small for him.

It was just a simple gesture, but I thought it was very sweet. I was touched that he would think about Camryn and try to help her and keep her from getting in trouble.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Teaching Primary

Today Dave was asked to substitute teach Camryn's primary class. He had to take a conference call during the third hour of church so I ended up subbing for the sub. =]

Our lesson was "Jesus is the Good Shepherd." I began, as the lesson instructed, by holding up a picture of a shepherd with his sheep.

"Who is in this picture?," I asked.
"Jesus!" answered James.
"A Sheep Guy!" yelled out Bella.
"Good!" I answered. "And what is a person who watches sheep called?"
"A leper!" answered Hunter. "No-- a leopard!"

So our lesson was off to a rousing start. I dressed up as a shepherd, then they got to take turns dressing up and we played "Find the lost sheep." Then we went on a walk where I was the shepherd that they followed to the drinking fountain (baa-ing the whole way and occasionally going on all fours) on our way to find "Grass" to eat (green sour spaghetti candy that I ever-so-conveniently had on hand).

"Jesus said he is like our shepherd. How is he like a shepherd to us?"

James raised his hand high. "Last night I went to see 'Wall-E' and I have a toy of Wall-E at home."

"Yes, that's nice, but what does Jesus do for us that is like a shepherd for his sheep? He shows us the way to go and helps protect us. When we make wrong choices it is like we are lost sheep. What happens to us when we make wrong choices?"

"We go to priesthood prison!" Camryn said.

Out of the mouths of babes....

A Rant on Why I'm Irritated

I'm really irritated right now because I want to post pictures from our trip so I don't have a text-only blog. The problem is that in order to do that I would have to be able to locate my camera... and the cord to plug it in to the computer. Small details. Did I mention that I can't locate a set of nail clippers (I only own 4)? Or that my office is still a disastrous mess of boxes and junk intertwined with the remains of Camryn's "craft" projects? Or that I still step over a box to turn on the light when I walk into my office? Yes, every single time, and it's been that way for several months now....

I know I just need to get off my duff and start getting organized and unpacked. We've been in the new house for 3 months now, so I'm starting to lose my excuse of "we just moved." On Thursday I decided, "That's it! I'm going to turn over a new leaf and stop wasting time. I will use my time wisely and productively and do what's really important." And so my day started. I actually recorded everything that I did all day. And I found that pretty much I spend all day preparing, feeding and cleaning up meals. Oh yeah, and doing laundry. So I really am doing something all day long-- just not cleaning up my office.

But I really am starting to go nuts that we've been here three months and I still can't find anything. Eighty percent of the time when the phone rings I can't find the handset (one is permanently missing...) and have to go running in search of it. I need order! I want sanity! But it's kind of hard to find it when I'm too busy keeping up with day to day clean-up. This is really only the most basic kind of clean-up-- we're still eating off paper plates most of the time. You know it's gotten bad when you say, "Jared, will you clear the table so we can eat dinner?" No that wasn't a typo... before the table can be set we need to get rid of the remains from the previous meal that are still sitting there in all of their decorative loveliness... Sigh. I'm really not a slob at heart. Honest. If only the odds weren't stacked against me: 5 messer-uppers to 1 cleaner-upper.

There... now that I've said that I'm going to obsess about something else. I just started to notice that everyone else has blogs and they are cuter than mine. My entries are too long and picture-less. Why would anyone want to read a stupid account of my family reunion and hike?

Did I mention that I'm sick of looking post-baby frump? After all of my efforts to get back into shape and down to my goal weight, all of that went down the tube with one pregnancy and I'm back into a state of perma-flab. I thought that maybe because I gained 10 pounds less with this pregnancy, the pounds would come off quicker, but I was wrong. I need to exercise, but it's hard to justify the time on it when my bathroom sinks are growing algae and toilets are collecting bacteria specimens-- besides I'm too tired to feel like it anyway.

And it's irritating when I do exercise: before I got pregnant with Jackson I faithfully worked out for an hour or two 2-3 times a week. I did a high-intensity cardio workout for at least 45 minutes followed by weight training. Within weeks of getting pregnant (before I even started to show), I was huffing and puffing like I'd never seen an elliptical in my life, and it' s unfortunately stayed that way since. What's the point of working out for a solid year when all of your fitness can go out the window in an instant? I feel even worse because it seems like about half of my friends are runners and do marathons (or at least half-marathons)-- some of them keep running while they are pregnant-- did I mention they get up at 5:30 am to go running? Yeah, I know-- just shoot me.

So there's my rant. I could go on but I won't. I'm just in a bad mood.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Brief Travelogue

For the past few weeks I have been battling the urge to "catch-up" before I can write anything new. As a result... I haven't written anything. I guess I need to make at least a lame attempt to overcome my all-or-nothing tendencies and try to just write about now.

On Wednesday at about 1:30, we got back to Portland after our trip to Utah. We spent 25 consecutive hours en route after leaving St. George, Utah at 11:30 am the day before. The moral of the story is just buy plane tickets-- especially if you have an infant who still nurses. Jackson was remarkably good, all things considered, but it was a loooooong trip. We stopped in Beaver at Dairy Queen for a quick lunch, refuel and snack purchase. Then we stopped again in Nephi for gas, in Spanish Fork for bottle liners, at random places to feed Jackson, in Bountiful for a quick dinner with Dave's parents (where we were able to fix a well-timed diaper disaster from Jackson), and then 3 times in the next 3 hours at random places off of the highway to change poopy diapers (I think his apple-prune juice did its work.). We passed through Boise at about midnight and went on to Ontario (Oregon-- not Canada) before crashing at a Motel 6 for a precious 6 hours of sleep. At 7:00 am we were back on the road. After quick stops at a gas station in Pendleton and at the Troutdale Burgerville (which is remarkably far from the highway, despite what the signs would have you believe) for lunch and strawberry milkshakes, we finally made it back home.

After all of that toil, Dave did-- sort of-- get back for work on Wednesday. We are supposed to leave for Utah again in less than a month for Dave's family reunion. After spending 25 hours on the road, $50 on a motel and $400 on gas, I just bought plane tickets.

Funny Email from Susan

Susan sent this funny email about Jared last week:

Hi Fam-
Karen, Laurel, and the kids arrived at our house on Friday night. It was so fun to see little Jackson, who is growing up fast. On Sunday we had 15 for dinner to celebrate Fathers Day: Dad, Jeanette's family, Karen, Laurel and kids, and Bruce and I. We had a great time together. This afternoon Karen, Laurel, and Jackson drove to St. George to prepare for Laurel's father's 90th birthday party on Saturday. Jared and Camryn are staying here with us until Friday, when they'll drive down to St. George with David (if he is able to fly in) or with Karen's cousins.

As we sat down to dinner, Jared sighed and said,
"It's really good for me and Camryn to get a break from our Mom and Dad once in awhile. It's quieter when they're not here. When they're around there's a lot of bossing going on. You boss us sometimes, but not too much."

I stand warned about not doing too much bossing! And, I guess David and Karen are a noisy couple, whereas J and C are very quiet kids!

A Not-So-Brief Travelogue

There, now that I have officially "caught up," I can commence with going backward to catch up again. On Tuesday, June 10th, my mom flew out to so she could drive with me and the kids to St. George, Utah for my Grandpa Cannon's 90th birthday party. Although we had great intentions of accomplishing some great project on the house (unpacking boxes or cleaning up the office, anyone), none of that actually happened before we left (although while she was here, Jared lost the 2nd of his two front teeth and Jackson got his first tooth). On Friday morning we left at 9:00 am for Bountiful, Utah-- our first stop on the trip to stay over with Dave's parents for the weekend.

Jackson has never been a big fan of the car, although he is getting better. We made it out of town with no major disasters. We had been on the road about an hour and Jackson was beside himself. So we stopped and I nursed him and we got on the road again. It wasn't long before he was screaming again. I knew he was fed and he didn't have a messy diaper, so I can only assume that he wanted out of his car seat. Unfortunately that was not to be. Poor Jackson couldn't figure out why I wouldn't take him out of his car seat when he was most clearly asking to be taken out. I finally felt so bad for him that I put a little piece of fruit roll-up on my finger and let him suck on it. He finally resigned himself to his fate and on we went.

We finally got to Bountiful at about 1:00 am. Despite our late hour of arrival, we were off at 8:30 a.m. to Honeyville with Megan and her friend Hilary (whose hometown of Deweyville is adjacent to Honeyville) for the Rogers Family Reunion (which is why my mom and I had left on Friday instead of Monday as originally planned). I brought the kids with me despite Grama Susan's offer to watch them for me. After the fact, I realized that kids at family reunions are the unfortunate victims of the need for visual aids (as in "Look, here are my kids. See, I really have them. They look like me, too. And by the way, they are bored out of their minds and don't have any clue who any of these people are.").

We arrived at Crystal Hot Springs "Resort." To describe it in the words of a person who shall remain nameless: "This place is totally ghetto. It looks about 100 years old." Or to quote Hilary's picture captions in her facebook album of the event: "Crystal Hot Springs is pretty ghetto. Note the puke green waterslides and prison fencing." OK, maybe that's overstating it a bit. Nevertheless, despite the less-than-resort quality pools, puke green waterslides and attractive prison fencing, the waterslides really are quite fun and it is a cheap place to camp with a fun, if not exactly posh, activity close by.

We arrived just in time for breakfast: a huge barrage of pancakes, sausage, ham and Sunny Delight. My cousin Jeffrey was on hand cooking and eating some fish that he had just caught from the nearby drainage ditch. Camryn and Jared kept themselves busy by examining the remaining fish that occasionally flipped a fin out of its bucket. This was an extended family reunion that included a smattering of people including aunts and uncles, second cousins-once-removed, my dad's Harley-riding 40-ring-wearing cousin Mary Anne (who is the organizer of the reunion), my grandpa's twin brother and some random relative from Tennessee.

After breakfast, the kids begged to go on the waterslide. I took them to check it out only to find out that they had to go down by themselves and the pool was 4 feet deep at the bottom. Oops.

So we went back to the reunion where we visited with relatives (the kids were thrilled) until it was time for the "Heirloom Auction." The auction is what pays for the costs of the reunion (breakfast, etc.). Everyone who wishes to can donate items to the auction and the proceeds go to the family reunion fund. I looked around the auction tables at the assortment of items: polished rocks, crocheted potholders, a coin collection, homemade aprons, a plaster bunny, a jeweled frog, and so forth.

The auction started with a set of potholders, an ugly orange and green crocheted set. "$10, will anyone take $10?" --You've got to be kidding me, I thought. But the potholders did sell--and for $13. Here I started to get uncomfortable. Are they serious? They are auctioning off a bunch of junk and they want me to fork over money for this? The auction moved onto rocks. I let Jared bid on some and he started to get really into it. I don't think he connected that we were paying money for these items. He just knew that he had to say a higher number in order to get an item.

After a while I finally started to get it: this was kind of like a white-elephant gift exchange, only you make a donation to the reunion fund to get your item. So when the bidding started on a hot pink boot-shaped pocketknife, I realized that Dave HAD to have this for his Father's Day gift. I bid until it reached about $30 (it ultimately went for about $45). After careful deliberation, I decided that Jared absolutely could not live without the jeweled frog-- the mouth even opened up to hold treasures inside. With the help of Jared's expert bidding we came home with a $20 jeweled keepsake. Jared and Camryn both pronounced the auction their favorite part of the reunion. After the reunion, we went to lunch at Cafe Rio and Hogi-Yogi (mom figured out that she can have sugar-free yogurt with berries and count it as a protein and fruit on her food plan).

On Sunday we went to church with the Dave's family. Susan got asked to sub for the organist at the last minute. She seemed stressed out by this, so I offered to play the organ for her. During Sunday School I practiced the hymns and tried to figure out good stops. [May I just insert here that organs that have stop presets that don't show which stops are being used should be outlawed. It is really annoying to try to figure out good stop combinations when you don't know what is already on.] On the opening hymn, I had arranged a rousing stop change after the 2nd and 3rd verses. This would have been great except that the organ started out a hair too loud, and then after the stop changes got louder... and louder. And since you play the organ with your feet AND control the volume with your feet, it is a little bit tricky to adjust the volume once you start. The end result was fine, but being my perfectionist self, I was a little bit annoyed that it didn't go exactly as I had hoped.

On Monday, Mom, Jackson and I left for St. George, leaving Camryn and Jared to stay with Grama Susan until Friday. I was thrilled at the prospect of being down two children for almost a whole week. Just think of the fun we could have! Just think of all we could get done to get ready for Grampy's party! What I discovered is that even when you are minus two children, trying to get things done with a baby is frustrating at best. We did manage to get the party preparations done, shop for some clothes, visit Grampy every day and eat at Cafe Rio every day except one, but it was still disappointing that we couldn't squeeze more in.

We spent a good portion of the week on the phone trying to arrange a ride for Camryn, Jared and Megan to get to St. George from Salt Lake. After much haggling and worrying, they finally got a ride with my cousins Carrie and Cynthia just in time for Grampy's birthday lunch at Golden Corral (a St. George tradition-- a real step up from Chuck-o-Rama). David Rogers, Dad, Lindsay and Martin had all just arrived. Jared went to the buffet and found out that they had an ice cream machine, jelly beans, candy corn and that he could have his own steak. He proudly ordered it Medium-Rare and then sat down, saying, "Mom, this is this best restaurant ever!" [Incidentally, Grampy's 90th birthday was the 7 year anniversary of my graduate piano recital. Crazy--- it makes me feel old!]

On Saturday morning, Dave and Nate both flew into Vegas and drove to St. George. We spent the day in last-minute preparations for the party. In true Cannon style, my mom was prepared for the worst-case scenario: we had food to feed 200 people. Dave spent about 2 hours cooking 30 pounds of hamburger, while we had put about 30 pounds of chicken in 5 different crock-pots to cook the night before. The party went off really well: we had lots of people (although not nearly 200 =] ), Grampy blew out 90 candles (with the help of his great-grandkids) and the great-grandkids demolished one of 4 cakes by sticking the candles in and using them to lick the frosting. We had TONS of food and expended great effort to make a dent in the leftovers over the course of the weekend. After the party, it took mom a good day and half to quit lamenting that she somehow should have been able to magically better predict how many people would come when most people did not RSVP. =]

We spent Sunday going to church and visiting with relatives. On Monday, we set out with Mom, Dad, Lindsay, Martin, Nate, David R., Dave P., Megan and the kids to Zion National Park. I had fond visions of enjoying the beautiful scenery as a family, perhaps doing the Riverside Walk or the short Emerald Pools trail together. But other forces were at work....

Dave and I once hiked at Zion when Jared was a baby. We hiked up to Scout Lookout on the Angels Landing trail with Jared in a backpack. At that point we decided to turn back, given the steep drop-offs that would make your stomach churn. Ever since, Dave has wanted to finish the hike. Marty was also pumped to go on this hike; I was game and so were several others. We got off late so Dave and Marty were pushing to start with the Angel's Landing Trail before it got too hot. We ate lunch at the trailhead and then all set out on the trail, kids and stroller and all.

We got about 100 feet before Jared and Camryn started complaining that it was hot. After maybe 1/10th of a mile they were done and the sand on the supposedly "paved" part of the trail was making the stroller difficult to push. At this point we decided to split up: Mom and Dad took the kids back to do an easier trail while the rest of us pushed onward. We climbed higher and higher on the steep trail. Meg occasionally punctuated the conversation with, "I don't feel great. My stomach hurts. I don't do well in the sun." After consuming numerous water bottles in 100 degree heat, climbing up rocks with chains attached to them and ascending 1000 feet, we finally arrived at Scout's Lookout. At this point, the trail goes out on a rock fin and then ascends up the rock fin to the "Angel's Landing." However, to get out to the rest of the trail you have to traverse a spot where the trail is about 3 feet wide with 1000 foot drop-offs on either side. There is a chain to hold onto, but when the trail expands to about 8 feet wide, the chain goes away (but the 1000 foot drop-offs don't).

Now, ever since I was pregnant with Jared, I noticed that I don't exactly have a fondness for heights. Maybe it was just visiting the Grand Canyon with my center of balance off, but something about motherhood has instilled an intense, "Get away from that edge right now!" instinct in me. But I thought that without Jared in a baby backpack I could, with some determination, summon up the courage to finish the hike. We started out on the rock fin. I commented, "I don't do very well with heights....." a comment that started to get more frequent than Meg's observation that her stomach hurt. By the time I passed the "step of faith" and got out on the 8 foot wide ledge with no chain, I started to panic. I tried to scoot along slowly on my bottom with both hands touching the rocks, but I could only see visions of myself tumbling 1000 feet to the valley floor below, leaving 3 bereft orphans.

At points like this in movies, the hero summons his/her courage, faces her fears and confronts them. I did likewise. Sitting there on that rock, in 105 degree heat, 1000 feet above the valley floor, I confronted my fear of heights. I thought, "I know this fear is irrational. I know that if I go slowly and carefully I won't fall. I know I can do this-- that if I really want to I can make myself finish this hike." And with that motivating thought, I decided to turn around and wimp out. Maybe I just glanced one-too-many times at the teeny trees and rocks below me. Or maybe it was the thought of three motherless children. Or maybe it was the realization that while I technically COULD do it, it was going to be unpleasant, uncomfortable and take a very long, stressful time. Whatever it was, I turned around, going back over the 3-foot-wide precipice at the "step of faith," breathing in slow, measured breaths until I was back at Scout's Lookout on -- at least relatively-- solid ground. Yes, out of all of us who made it to Scout's Lookout, I was the only one who turned back and didn't finish. I wimped out. I faced my fear and my fear won. =] Oh well, maybe someday I can star on a de-motivational poster: "Fear: It May Be Irrational, But It Can Still Beat You."

As a result of turning back, I finished the hike an hour and a half before anyone else. I was under the impression that mom and dad were going to meet us at the trailhead. They were under the impression that we were going to meet them at the Visitor's Center. The net result was that we both stood around waiting for the other party , watching every shuttle bus for about and hour and a half. At long last, the other hikers got back and we discovered that Meg really was not lying: her stomach did hurt and she got the migraine headache of her life as a reward for her efforts. Two people in our party got heat exhaustion and threw up. So, no, the day didn't go exactly as I had pictured, but it wasn't anything that dinner at Winger's couldn't fix....

We didn't get back from Zion until after 8:00. We didn't get to dinner until after 9:30. Needless to say, Dave and I did not leave on Monday night as previously planned. But we did eventually make it off at 11:30 a.m. the next day. I was worried that Jared and Camryn would be bummed about the Zion trip because they spent so much time waiting around, but they were fine: they found some cool walking sticks, watched the buses and were thrilled to pieces with the tweeting birds Grama bought them at the Zion Visitor's Center (Jared's is named "Zack" and Camryn's is named "Sweety Tweety P"). Plus, they got to go swimming with Grandpa while we went to Wingers. Jared pronounced this trip, "Pretty much my best vacation ever."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Finding Balance?

I am going to be out of character for once and not try to catch up before doing a new update. I wanted to quickly announce to all the world that it is morning and my kitchen is moderately clean (appropriate time to insert applause). I even cleared the dishes from the table last night BEFORE going to bed (insert more applause). It is only 10:30 a.m. and I am showered, dressed, Jared is at school, Jackson has been fed three times and Camryn is... OK, fine, she's watching TV-- but she is dressed.

I'm really ready for school to be out. I have long since given up on getting Jared on the bus at 7:25. I wait every morning for Jared to come and wake me up and say, "Mom, can you drive me to school?" and then I get up and drive him to school. I can't decide if the fact that he will wake up, get dressed and feed himself breakfast on his own means that I have an unusually independent first-grader or just that I am the ultimate slacker of a mother. Sleep is still a fairly scarce commodity for me, although Jackson is gradually getting better.

These past few weeks have been inordinately stressful, yet I have not gotten depressed or down (also appropriate time for applause). However, I am still wondering and trying to figure out what to do and how to appropriately deal with my current challenges. Dave officially started his new position a few weeks ago. Up until then his schedule was pretty difficult and I was wondering how long he would have this temporary burst in stress and work hours. Well, since then it has gotten considerably worse. Dave has gotten home by 8:30 p.m. two nights this week and both nights my reaction was, "Wow! What are you doing home so early?" Nights spent sitting up or falling asleep in front of his laptop are par for the course for him. He even had a conference call at midnight the other night. We joked that he and his colleagues just missed each other and needed to catch up.... or maybe they thought, "Hmmm, we need to put in a few more hours. I know!! Let's have a midnight conference call!!" While I'm really proud of Dave for working so hard, I am seriously starting to worry about burn out. I'm sure Dave would like to work less, but he's not really at the point where he can rest on past laurels and feel assured of his career future. It is an uncertain economy, his company has been having tough times and there have been layoffs. How much can you cut back without going from "great performance" to endangering your job? So what do you do? Unfortunately I don't have any great answers besides "make the best of it".

And then we are still in limbo with our house: our old house is still on the market... it's been almost two months now. The average time to sell in this market is three months, but I'm still getting antsy. I want my furniture that we're using to stage the house back, I want to be done with moving, to not have to go back and water the plants at the other house. I want to feel settled and to have that door closed and move on. It's really easy to second-guess yourself. We felt like moving to this house was the right decision: we prayed about it, considered the decision carefully and we both felt like it was the right thing to do. But it's easy to wonder, "What were we thinking? Did we really want to sell a house in this down market? Why exactly would we want this additional stress at this already stressful period in our lives?"

So there you have it... uncertain times in our household. But despite the stress and worry, I have felt peaceful (well, most of the time) =] and tried to not worry too much. I feel like with this third baby I have gotten much better at enjoying the time while they are little and not being too hard on myself for all of the things that inevitably fall by the wayside. Jackson is a beautiful and precious baby-- it is so fun to watch him learn and grow and to see how much the other kids love him. He is 6 months old already and is cutting his first tooth (on bottom) and can take teeny steps if you hold his hands.

Jared and Camryn just amaze me with how much they are growing. This year, Jared went from sounding out individual words to reading "Pippi Longstocking" by himself (he is on the second-to-last chapter now). One of my friends today told me that she just realized her oldest, who is thirteen, will only be around for 5 more years before she leaves for college. People say these years fly by and you will wish yourself back (to which I sometimes internally retort, "Yeah, maybe if you're a masochist and you really miss cleaning up poop and having screaming children with you in the checkout line!") but this year truly has flown by fast.

So I guess my only solution is to stick to my mantra of low expectations: I don't expect my house to be clean, I don't expect my husband to be home, I don't expect to make it out of my pajamas too early on any given day. I just need to make sure my children get fed and loved and everything else is frosting on the cake.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Book Fair

Now that I have sufficiently freed myself from guilt at not keeping up with my updates I am indulging in the luxury of getting behind again. Now when exactly did I decide that instead of writing a simple update whenever I feel like it I need to have a complete, historically accurate, eminently readable and entertaining history of my life? I'm not the slightest bit compulsive perfectionist....

Well, my last update covers to almost the end of April. (Hmmm... now it's June.) Ah yes, our anniversary. On the 27th of April, in addition to observing my mother's birthday, Dave and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? Every once in a while it hits me that we really aren't just barely-post-newlywed college kids with a baby... we are actually a "real" family (as Megan would say) with a real job, a real house and, most importantly, a real minivan. So we celebrated our anniversary by.... (drumroll) going to church, making dinner and starting out watching one of our friends' kids for the week. These friends watched our kids part of the time we were in Hawaii last year, so it was our turn to pay up and watch one of their kids while they went to Hawaii. The kids were thrilled-- it was just like one giant sleepover-- and for the most part the kids got along great and had a good time. But, Dave and I had to postpone our anniversary celebration (we're still working on getting to it).

So we watched Connie for a week while the Williamsons were in Kauai. We could at least indulge in fond remembrances of our own trip to Kauai last August. During the course of the week, Jared had a student-led conference. Camryn was at preschool, but I took Connie and Jackson with me, figuring that Connie was old enough to read a book quietly. We went to the student-led conference and it was just that.... the teacher barely spoke to us the entire time we were there. While Connie read a book quietly and Jackson was toted along in the baby front pack, Jared took me to his desk as well as several different stations to show me what they had been working on at school. So I got to see what kind of penguin was the closest in height to me and attempt to use ice water, hot water and room-temperature water to reproduce the desired water temperature for certain penguins.

After such happy affirmations that my child is actually being educationally enriched and not just baby-sat, we stopped by the school book fair on the way out
. I had warm fuzzy pictures in my head of quality time spent carefully selecting some quality work of literature that we could enjoy together. After briefly surveying the offerings at the book fair, Jared decided that in order for his day to be complete he needed a stuffed dog. "No Jared," I said, "we have a million stuffed animals at home already and we're here to get a book." Only slightly disappointed, Jared selected a "Mini Art Kit" to take it's place. A Mini Art Kit? Aside from being a cute but useless waste of money designed to steal money from over-nagged parents, we already had everything that was in the kit at home, in a much more usable full size to boot. "Why don't you pick a book, Jared? It is a BOOK fair." "But MOM," he argued,"there are other things besides books at book fairs." "Yes, I know Jared, but we came to choose a fun BOOK." At this point Connie held up a book with fairies on the front and announced, "I found a book that I want to get." Starting to get impatient, I said, "I don't think so, Connie. We're trying to pick out a book for Jared." We had about 3 minutes before we needed to leave to pick up Camryn from preschool. "Look Jared," I said, "it's almost time to go. It's a book or nothing."

Jared grumpily started browsing the rows of books for one that was remotely as cool as a stuffed dog or mini art kit. By this time, Jackson was done with the book fair and started to fuss. "Jared, it's time to pick up Camryn from preschool. Jackson is getting cranky and we have to go." "But MOM, I'm choosing a book." Jackson started to wail. I glanced at my watch. We weren't going to make it in time to pick up Camryn. "Jared, we have to leave!" So I grabbed Jared by the hand and we left the book fair with Jared crying because I wouldn't let him stay and choose a book after nixing the stuffed dog, Connie crying because I wouldn't let her get the fairy book that she wanted, and Jackson crying, well because he is Jackson.

In other news, I threw out my back from lifting Jackson's car seat during the week we were watching Connie. I made an appointment with the chiropractor for the next day and went even though my back was already starting to feel better the next morning before the appointment. The chiropractor still prescribed a series of visits. I wasn't certain they were necessary, but paying a $10 copay to go have a heat pad and massager for 15 minutes and then get your back adjusted (or just to have 30 minutes with no kids in general) didn't seem too bad.

In more news, our home is still on the market. Our grass was starting to get longer and longer and Dave's work has gotten busier and busier. I finally realized I was going to have to mow it myself. I was about to go and take the front pack to carry Jackson while mowing the yard, but it occurred to me that if I had recently thrown my back out that may not be the wisest of decisions. So I got a babysitter for Jackson, loaded up the lawnmower into the minivan, drove it to the other house, and mowed the front and back lawns, loaded the lawn mower back into the minivan and drove home... only taking me roughly 3 hours from start to finish. Yes, I hear the chuckles from all of you who have taken economics. I did learn my lesson and we currently have a lawn service.

Well, with all of my efforts I still haven't even caught up to the month of May.... I guess today is not the day for me to catch up with my updates. Oh well... at least my laundry and dishes won't feel lonely.



Quote of the Week:
Jared:"Mommy, Camryn said the "s" word!"
Me: "She did? What did she say?"
Jared: "S-T-U-P-I-D"