Friday, July 18, 2008

Sight-Seeing With the Kids

My friend Stephanie is in town from BYU for the Portland Piano Festival. On Tuesday we took her to see the Portland sights (Multnomah Falls, Powell's and Ken's Artisan Bakery) and then berry picking in Sherwood. On Wednesday we took her to the coast. First we went to Tillamook, to the Blue Heron Cheese company and the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Then we went to Cape Meares Lighthouse and Oceanside Beach.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

To the Coast

Today I took my friend Stephanie (who is visiting from BYU for the Portland Piano Festival) to the Oregon Coast with the kids in tow. We went to Tillamook-- yes, that Tillamook, as in the cheese. We went to a small cheese company that makes brie and then to the Tillamook factory itself.

When we got to the Blue Heron Cheese company, Jared started complaining like I've never seen (I found out after we got home tonight that he stayed up late last night reading... and it showed!). "But mom! I don't want to go to this place! I want to go to the beach. If we waste time here, we won't have enough time at the beach. I want to go to the beach for at least 8 hours!" After we actually got out and he discovered that there were animals to pet, chocolates to eat and cheese to try, he was a little more cheerful. We followed with the Tillamook cheese factory: there were observation windows to watch the work inside the factory and buying ice cream cones of Tillamook ice cream certainly didn't hurt.

Incidentally, it was cloudy and cold all morning, but by the time we got to the beach it was beautiful... even if we didn't get to spend 8 hours there.

Jared after collecting 3 Transformer Happy Meal toys: "Mom, I'm going to save these transformer toys until I'm really old, like 50 or something. Then, I bet they will be worth millions. I will sell them for maybe 5,000 and 5. Yeah, I think they will be worth millions."

Me: "Good night, Camryn!"
Camryn: "But mom, I need to tell you something!"
Me: "What, Camryn?"
Camryn: (long pause) "Good night! I love you. Have a good sleep. See you in the morning when the sun comes up. [pause] That wasn't it."

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Chat

Yesterday after church I was checking my facebook page and an old friend popped up to chat with me. As I was chatting, Jared came in and started whining about when we were going to have dinner. I told him I would make it in a few minutes. It soon became apparent that Jared was both hungry and cranky, as he kept bugging me to make him dinner NOW. I told him, "Jared, I will make you dinner as soon as I finish this. I'm talking with a friend." "How can you be talking, mom?" he retorted, "What is she going to do, pop out of the computer?" I typed to my friend that I probably needed to get off and make dinner as Jared was starting to get upset and was demanding his dinner. Jared read what I wrote and whined, "Don't write what I said!!! I don't want you to say it. Make what I said go away!" Hmmm, definitely dinner time.

As I finished up my chat, Jared said, "Mom, you spend way too much time playing on the computer." "I'm not playing on the computer, Jared," I responded, then I caught myself, realizing that was only true in the most literal sense. Jared continued, "Mom, I think you need to have a whole week with no computer." Getting off the computer, I said, "Jare, getting on the computer is what I do to have fun. I don't usually watch TV and I don't play Wii, so when I want to have fun, I talk to friends or play games with them on the computer. I don't do it all the time. But, do you think it would be fair if all I ever did was make dinner and clean the house and I never got to have fun? Would you like to go for a whole week without playing Wii?"

"Well mom," he said, "you don't let ME play on the computer when I want to... and it's already been a couple of days since I've played Wii." (Ah, the truth comes out-- he wants me to get off the computer so HE can play it....).

"Really? I thought you played Wii with daddy yesterday morning and again in the afternoon?" "Oh, yeah," he mumbled, "I forgot."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Just for Meg

At Meg's request, I am going to send a Jared and Camryn quote. (Meg told me that she was disappointed that I had recently left off her favorite part of my emails =p ).Of course sending a quote from them would require me thinking and actually remembering what they said. =] But I will exert myself... here's one from Tuesday:

We were at Quizno's ordering a sandwich for me. The kids had already had a happy meal for dinner (gotta love $1.25 night!). Jared had four quarters that were burning a hole in his pocket and was trying to decide if he should spend his own money to buy a bag of chips.

Me: "Jared, if you really want to buy the chips, I'm not going to stop you, but I wouldn't buy them if I were you. It's a waste of money. I thought you were saving up to buy a RAZR scooter. If you keep spending money on little things like chips, you won't ever have enough for your scooter."

Jared: "Well mom, it rains a lot in Oregon and when it rains, you can't go outside and ride a scooter, so I think maybe buying the scooter is a waste of money. Besides, you have to eat food or you'll die. You need food to survive, so it's not a waste of money."

That may well be true, but I still don't put Doritos in the "necessary for life" category.
On Friday we had some friends over for a playdate. Camryn said that she didn't like to eat something and Jared said, "You don't! Are you from Mars?" (This is what daddy says to him whenever mommy makes something particularly yummy and Jared says that he doesn't like it.) Camryn said indignantly, "I'm not from Mars! I'm from heaven!"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Late Fourth of July!

Happy belated Fourth of July, everyone!

Last week I was starting to get to the end of my rope. We had a good Fourth of July- we went to a barbecue at a friend's house and then I took the two older kids to see fireworks while Dave stayed home, put Jackson to bed and worked. Despite the good day, I was still having a hard time. I was sad that Dave didn't get to come and see fireworks with us, irritated with Dave's company for demanding so much from him at all hours, frustrated at my inability to get the house even remotely cleaned up and antsy for our other house to sell.

The two older kids had a fun time watching the fireworks display, and even more fun being part of the herd of kids chasing all of the small fireworks being set off around the park.

Saturday we cleaned up a little bit and then went to work on some things at the old house. That evening Dave and I were set to go on a date, but I didn't want to. I was in a bad mood and started the date out that way. But I am a believer in going out: after a nice dinner and poking around Cost Plus Imports, I felt like a new person.

Sunday was great: Dave cooked dinner for us: sugar waffles and cowboy potatoes-- and he even cleaned up dinner so I started the next day with a semi-clean kitchen. Woo hoo!

Monday, July 7, 2008

You Can Run...

We are now officially well into summer. This means that all of my visions of having a better, more orderly routine punctuated by enriching field trips to fun spots all over Portland are being replaced by the reality of normal life: most of my day is still spent with food, children and laundry. After getting back from my trip to Utah, I resolved to spend my time better. I even tracked what I did with my time for an entire day. The results were intriguing (ha,ha, yes I intended that sarcastically): About 70 percent of my time was spent preparing, serving, spoon-feeding, nursing or cleaning up meals. Most of the remaining 30 percent was spent on laundry. I did spend about an hour on facebook (mostly while I was nursing). While these results may not exactly be intriguing, it does help explain why it seems I can never get caught up on the housework, let alone get to any projects.

So I now have a new official strategy for summer. Each morning I begin with grand plans to get the house cleaned and orderly. After spending several hours limping along, not accomplishing anything, I abandon any thoughts of getting anything done and get out of the house as quickly as possible for as long as possible. The next day, we repeat the process.

We began this process on the last Friday of June. Despite concerted effort, I could not get the kids ready and out the door to 10:00 am park day until almost 11:00 am. We did finally make it to the water fountain park, with PB&J in tow and so we just stayed there until 4:00. On Monday, I repented and tried to get something done. When it become apparent that no progress was going to be made, we abandoned ship and fled to Ranell's house and backyard waterslide, where we stayed for dinner and Family Home Evening until almost 8:00 pm.

On Tuesday, I began with renewed determination to attack the filth that was my kitchen and bathrooms. As soon as I started scrubbing toilets, Jackson awoke from his lengthy nap of 10 minutes and started screaming. I gritted my teeth and determined that I was going to finish at least one task today, but after a minute or two, I felt bad and couldn't ignore him any longer. At this point, I was starting to despair: there was no way that I could ever make headway in the mess, let alone conquer it. So I did what any self-respecting despairing woman would do: I packed the kids up and went shopping.

My current good mood was not helped by the fact that I had only 2 short-sleeve shirts that fit (did I ever mention that pregnancy and nursing do really mean things to your body?). I could at least remedy not having shirts that fit. So off we went to the outlets. I told Jared and Camryn that if they were good I would take them to Target and let them buy Pokemon cards. Unfortunately, when I am nursing I have to try on about 10-15 shirts to find one that looks good on me. After 2 1/2 hours of somewhat patiently watching mom try on shirts, waiting while I nurse Jackson and then watching me try on still more shirts, the kids were getting antsy. So I upped my bribe--- er, um incentive-- for good behavior and told them that I would buy them the Pokemon cards. Amazingly, they lasted and we got back in the car to drive home.

By this time it was getting late, past 7:00. We started driving home and needed to get dinner. We were driving past Costco --I had some grape tomatoes in the car that I had bought a few days before that were bad. I could just run in and return them (yes, I know this sounds obsessive-compulsive, and it is, but do you know how irritating it is to have 2 pounds of greens in your fridge and no tomatoes?) and then get the kids pizza for dinner. I went in, ordered the pizza, returned the tomatoes, got the new tomatoes and a couple of other items and unbelievably, Jackson had not exploded yet, although he wasn't happy in the cart anymore, so I was holding him in one hand. I picked up our pizza, balanced it on the top of the cart and headed out to the car, pushing the cart with one hand and holding Jackson with the other. Halfway across the parking lot, the pizza started to slide. I reached for it, but it was too late: it tipped sideways, dumping the entire pizza into the passenger seat of the cart. Yes, just what I needed. But this was our dinner, so I scooped it back into the box as best I could.

By this time, Jackson was starting to get upset and then frantic. It was almost 8 pm. I threw the groceries and pizza into the car as quickly as I could and then sat in the front seat to nurse Jackson while dishing out half-smooshed pizza with the other hand. I checked my phone and it turns out that Dave had called me three times. I called him back and he said, "Karen, I'm home to watch the kids for you to go to book club? Aren't you going?" Yes, Dave had told me that he was going to try to be home earlier tonight and as luck would have it, the one night that he is home early is the night that I am nursing Jackson in the Costco parking lot at 8 pm. I did eventually get home and go to book club, just a tad late, even though I hadn't read the book this month.

Wednesday I was already beginning to lose my visions of trying to clean the house. I had promised Jared and Camryn that I would take them to Target and it only took us until 12:30 to get out the door. After exhausting myself with that effort, we spent the afternoon hanging out in Ranell's backyard on her waterslide. Thursday, I had a dentist appointment in the morning and in the afternoon-- you guessed it, we hung out on Ranell's waterslide.

So I guess cleaning my house is just a little bit like hiking Angel's Landing: Even if you start out with good intentions, it's never too late to turn back. =]

Friday, July 4, 2008

Jackson the Foodie

Jackson has taken to solid food unlike any of my other two kids. From the very first bite he loved it and instead of funny faces and spitting it out, it was, "Where have you been all my life?". He is now seven months old and every morning he eats two level 2 jars of Gerber baby food-- yes the entire thing-- or a serving of rice cereal instead of one of them. He eats at least one for lunch and two more for dinner. If at any point I pause in spooning the food into his mouth, he will start screaming at me in protest. Even after he finishes his first serving of baby food, when I go to rinse the spoon off, he will scream at me until I start feeding him again. While I feed him, he makes very appreciative "mmmm" noises and hungrily gobbles it up. If either of my other two kids had been such good eaters I don't know if I would have minded the spoon-feeding stage so much....

He loves to babble, his favorite words being "ah-gah", "da-da-da," and "gaggle-gaggle." Sometimes when he cries he just says woefully, "Wah-wah-wah!" instead of crying. The other cute thing that he does is when he cries, he snorts when he takes a breath (waahhhh--snort--waaaaah-snort).

Jackson is quite an accomplished roller now: he rolls to get to toys and put them in his mouth. He can sit up well by himself with only an occasional tip over. He has started to push up on all fours (and then dive-bomb headfirst into the carpet), but this still takes a lot of effort. Still, I think I need to start baby-proofing the house (as if there was such a thing...).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pictures from the Angel's Landing Hike

After making myself look like a total wimp, I need to at least demonstrate that it was a REAL cliff that I was afraid of...