Monday, January 30, 2012

Church, Family Stuff and Friends for 20 Years

Last night I took Erin to her baptism preview. My thoughts on this are, Do I really have a kid that is old enough to be baptized? and What a special and important decision to make as a young child. It got me thinking about baptism as I felt the spirit and the truthfulness of the gospel. It made me wonder if I had done enough to help my children understand what this really means. Have I even done anything? While they were talking about baptism Erin leaned over and asked what immersion meant and then on the way home she asked what you do if you make more mistakes after all your sins are washed away. After I got baptized I clearly remember sitting up straight and trying my best to be perfect from then on. It was quite the responsibility. That obviously didn't last too long. I realized the effort was just too much. Anyway, I explained that the purpose of the sacrament is to renew that covenant, repent and start again, every week. I think Erin was relieved about that. Then she told me I could stop talking now. I've got some more teaching to do though. I want her to really understand this and I want it to be her decision, not just because that's what her parents told her to do. And she is understanding so much more lately. It is an exciting year, that's for sure.

We also went to the temple for a family sealing session on Saturday. My mom had done a whole bunch of work finding names and everyone has been doing the work for these people. It was so special to be there with some aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, and parents to do this work for our ancestors. I can't take any credit for it, but it was special to be a part of it. The temple worker mentioned that he would give anything to have this many of his family members in the temple together. I have a great family!

The next day was another family event up at Jared's parents' house. His younger brother turned 12 and got the Aaronic Priesthood. His dad, 5 of his brothers and 1 brother in law stood in the circle. Things like that are always cool things to see. Love big families!

This week Marissa has been so much better. I have tried to understand her emotions more instead of automatically get mad when she whines or ignores me. Dang it, I hope my kids come out without needing too much therapy. This week Connor had a rough time. He had a few days with a slight fever and then a few where he refused to eat and several where he could not be calmed down for anything. Typical every now and then, I'm sure, but frustrating nonetheless. He seems a little better the last couple of days. Who wants to be next? I feel like the kids know when one kid is having a hard time so they decide to behave until it's their turn. I guess that's a good thing because I really don't think I could handle two or more kids acting up at the same time.

Maybe that was the reason my older kids were so helpful this week. On Saturday we all spent almost three hours cleaning the house and Erin and Alex did a ton of work willingly and without complaining. How did I get such awesome kids? They single-handedly cleaned the bathrooms, picked up and organized the playroom, cleaned their rooms and did the laundry. Yes, laundry. (It's got to be because our laundry room is so great, it's magnetic.) And Erin mopped the whole main floor for the first time by herself. Why don't I ever get pictures of these things? I overheard Alex telling Erin, "We love to do our jobs because we are trying to be more helpful, right Erin?" It sure is a light at the end of the tunnel to see that my kids can do stuff like this on their own.

There are some really, really nice people in the neighborhood. I feel like there are so many to get to know and they all have kids the same ages as my kids. A couple of ladies came over today with their kids for lunch and a play date. While they were here, three other neighbors asked their kids to play today too. Crazy. I have to get in the loop. My kids will love it. And I will too.

So, I've been thinking about life next year because preschool and kindergarten sign-ups are next week. I'm having a dilemma about whether to put Alex in morning kindergarten or afternoon. Either way I will have to go to the bus stop three times. If he did afternoon then Erin and Alex could walk home together, which would be nice. But if Marissa has a morning preschool, having Alex home in the morning might be a dumb idea. Any suggestions???

Lastly, I love my friends. I love all my friends, but right now I'm talking about the ones from high school. This is a picture of our last get together. The thumbs down is to commemorate the time Cheryl and I ruined Jana's wedding pictures by doing the exact same thing (because we were still single).

Who knew that 20 years later we'd still be friends? I never actually thought I would be able to say that I'd been friends with someone for 20 years. I mean, that's like what my parents say not what I should be saying. Twenty years?! We had a lot of good times being band geeks in high school, playing bumper cars in the high school parking lot and getting kicked out of a good share of restaurants. And who can forget the time Marinda and I had no choice but to rescue Jana from the liquor store in California when we were 16. How were two innocent Utah girls supposed to know you could buy chips in a store like that? But, that is how our friendship began.

I don't know where this was taken (probably Green River?), or how many years ago. Judging from the Girbaud shorts I'm wearing, around 1995. Just look how young we all look (and don't mind the "rat" on my face--I have no idea what that is about)
I guess after high school I thought I would move on and make new college friends. And I did. I loved my college roommates. Those were some of the best days of my life. But after a few years of seeing my high school friends in the summers, writing letters (like actual letters with stamps) with Cheryl for a couple of years, and serving three missions between all of us, Jana, Cheryl and I became roommates at BYU. Good times. After I got married and moved to Florida, we still remained great friends. There are just certain people that you can be yourself with, laugh with (and at) and tell your problems to without any reservation. That's the kind of friends these are. The kind that you can have fun with pulling out pink and white animal crackers every time you come to an intersection to determine which way to go, and just figuring out where you end up. Or rolling down the biggest hill you can find while acting out The Princess Bride. Or dressing up as old ladies to take pictures at a completely packed bowling alley just because we thought it would be funny. Now that I'm back in Utah, we have a girls' night out once a month with Jana, Cheryl, Marinda, Cara (who is finally back in the loop after a divorce and remarriage-yay!) and Jenn, when she can make it (dumb night job!). I love these outings! I love these friends! I don't have to start over or get to know anyone. It' just a bunch of good friends that have known each other for about 20 years now. And, there'll probably be another good 20 or 40 more!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This Week

Every week I've been trying to focus on one Christlike attribute and talk about it with the kids. This week was patience. When I started telling them about patience and thinking of examples, all I got were blank stares about the subject, like they just couldn't comprehend this one. It was then that I realized that I am the one who needs to work on patience, not them. I ran across the scripture in Mosiah about how we should be like a child, and one of a child's attributes is patience. I think in a lot of ways that is true. I tried really hard this week to be more patient, and did okay for a good while. By the end of the week I definitely didn't show the patience I should have, especially with Marissa. She has been testing my patience so much lately. I cannot even tell you how frustrating this child is to me right now. I try to show her more love when she isn't frustrating me. I hope this is only a phase that has an end somewhere in the near future.

We have been working on a lot of projects lately. Even though there are so many of them and that they are a lot of work, we are so happy to have projects. We love being able to do things around the house after not being able to for so long. There's the curtains I'm making, the furniture I'm refinishing and the girls' bedroom that is 98% done, as well as shelves to build, new outlets to wire and a utility sink to put in the basement next to my painting room (ohhh--that'll be a dream come true for me). Sometimes I feel like I just go from one thing to the next without actually finishing the first thing. I blame it on being a mom and always getting distracted. That, and having too many ideas rumbling around in my head. It's been so great to have a third car garage to be able to work on things in there. And to think we were considering not getting the third car part. Totally worth the extra money. There is no, and I mean no extra space in the two car part. When we first organized the garage, we lined everything up on the walls the way we did in Florida. Then when we pulled the van in, I realized that we couldn't even get by the freezer, let alone open it. That was also when I realized that we didn't have to fit everything in the garage anymore because we have a basement. The bunk bed is well underway, even though time is sometimes an issue as well as the coldness that usually dissuades us from going out there. Every time we work on it I have to keep reminding Jared about all the fun we are having by building a bunk bed instead of buying one. I think deep down he agrees with me. Good thing I'm here to make him do stuff like that with me. (Good thing he's here to make sure it gets done right. Example: compare my 8th grade shop projects with his sturdy high school furniture projects that we still use.)

I was talking to someone else who just built a townhouse about how it's hard to even hang pictures on the wall because you are ruining your perfect house. The first week we lived here I felt so paranoid about getting marks on the walls and scratches on the floor. We ended up getting some really big, long scratches on the nice wood floor. The floor people came to fix another scratch, covered the newly made scratches with a stain pen and then told me to embrace the scratches. Since that time I have done a few things: 1. I put felt on the bottom of all our chairs and furniture, 2. I bought a stain pen (and have started using it) and 3. I came to the realization that this house is to be lived in and can now embrace the little things that happen to it. In less than a month of living here I found pen, pencil, marker, crayon, green paint, purple paint, a quarter sized dent and black scuff marks on the walls. The carpet has been peed on, pooped on, painted on and thrown up on. This is what I call embracing the fact that we actually live in this house. And I just don't worry about it as much any more. I still haven't gotten around to hanging anything more than a clock on the wall, but that is not because I'm worried about putting holes in the perfectly good wall. I'm way over that.

We've been getting Bountiful Baskets quite a bit lately. We love it. It's a co-op where you pay $15 for a basket of various types of fruits and vegetables. You never know what you will get, but that is part of the beauty of it. Would I have ever bought eggplant or brussels sprouts? I'm going to say no. But it forces me to plan meals around the vegetables we get and forces us all to eat more healthy. I feel like I don't spend as much at the grocery store when we have so many other good things to eat. I've been trying to put out a variety of vegetables for the kids and let them choose two or three of whatever they want. That way they aren't forced to eat the thing that makes them throw up, but are still eating vegetables. Maybe everyone else has children that eat vegetables, but for us, this is a big breakthrough. We watched them eat broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, cucumbers, celery, and (get this)... lettuce. I don't think my kids have ever eaten lettuce before. No joke. They say your taste buds change every 7 years, so I should never give up trying to feed my kids good stuff. Here's all I know. I have hated, like couldn't stand, shrimp and onions my whole life. Until this year. I not only ate shrimp on various occasions without gagging, I actually liked it. And I've been finding myself cutting up a lot of onions and putting them in my food lately. What is that all about? Could this mean I might actually like cow stomach if I tried it 15 years after my mission? Yeah, okay, not going to happen.

At the beginning of the year, we had a family home evening where we all wrote some new years resolutions. Erin's goals were great: help her siblings, read more books, follow God and don't lie. Actually, "don't lie" was number one. Really? For some reason it hadn't crossed my mind that she needed to stop her lying habit. I actually didn't know she ever lied. She must be good at it. But, I am impressed that she recognized it and made a goal to do better. That's got to be a good quality. Anyway, I thought that was kind of funny. I felt somewhat uninspired about my goals this year. I did so well last year and completed all three of my goals. Yeah, I have some this year, but they are not as good as last year's. Save a certain amount of money, be more generous, do morning devotionals with the kids, go to the temple every month, keep up the blog(s) and work on projects. Exercise should be on there, but I've been feeling so frustrated with my rotated pelvis issue that makes me feel like I will never be able to run or do things I love like that again. Ugh.

Anyway, I have so much to be grateful for. Like, what would I do without heat in the winter? I am so aware of how reliable and hard working a furnace is right now. And hot water, and cars that work, and kids that are healthy, and good friends, and the Atonement. So many blessings to count, so little time. Here's to being more grateful (and more patient) next week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Christmas 2011

All right, so I finally can add pictures again. I've been meaning to document the fact that Christmas, indeed, did come this year. No Christmas card or letter based on the fact that there was not a suitable picture of the family, or anyone of late. Merry (belated) Christmas to all anyway. I'm hoping things will be luckier next year in this department for our family.

We drove through the Thanksgiving Point Festival of Lights and now we know, we don't ever have to waste 8 bucks to see that again. Most of the lights you could see from the road anyway.

We went to see the lights at Temple Square. It was cold, but not snowy. I scrounged up enough cold weather clothes and spent a good 30 minutes trying to convince the kids that they were going to want to wear them. "No, really... it's going to be cold," I would say. They kept rolling their eyes at that ridiculous notion and coming downstairs in things like capris and flimsy shoes, that is until we got out of the car and they felt the cold, night air. Turns out, I was right this time.

The lights were beautiful. I forgot the stroller--a dumb move--but at least everyone was warm. Also, we waited in line for over an hour for some food. I guess we weren't the only ones with the same idea for FHE that night. I tried to take some pictures and here's how it went:

Erin was happy the whole time...
...and smiled for every picture. They make a cute couple, eh?
Connor was not into pictures until we started tickling him. Then his face lit up like the lights. He could not have been cuter all bundled up. I don't think he could put his arms down all the way either. I just want to eat this one up!
Marissa didn't run from the camera, but she made it a point to only make faces.
Can you tell which one of my kids doesn't like getting their picture taken right now? Wow, he's going to think he had a miserable childhood when he looks back at this one. Alex is actually a content, happy child until you try to take a picture of him. "No, I hate getting my picture taken!" It seems like there is always one child going through a picture strike phase at any given moment, making it entirely impossible to take any form of good family photography. Am I the only one with this problem?

The Decor
We got our annual family Christmas ornament. Love that tradition. This is a cute one.We hung our stockings on the banister which had been primed at this point. The banister was the perfect length for our family too. How did that work out? Is this a sign that I should stop having kids? These stockings are way cheap. In fact, they came from our ward Christmas party in Florida--back where the primary is so small that every child gets a full stocking with their own coloring book, crayons, candy. (Here we were lucky to get a candy cane). Anyway, as it ended up, we had 3 blues, 2 purples and 1 red from Erin's school at one point. I think Erin liked being unique. My goal is to make cute stockings one year, preferably before the kids move out.Since we moved into our house in the middle of December, we didn't end up getting a tree until a week before Christmas. We went to Lowe's and could barely find the tree place because they were almost all gone. There were a total of three trees to chose from. We got a discount because it was so late in the season. This was literally the driest, most unhealthy specimen of a Christmas tree ever. Even the lady checking us out remarked how light the tree was (bad sign). It just had to last a week. The day after Christmas we took it down and bought a fake one. We still don't know what to do with the tree. I think it is still blowing around in our back yard. That'll probably be our last real tree. Just look how sad and saggy the thing is? Presents
On Christmas morning the kids got up and opened their stockings. We also went through all the toys that didn't have batteries and left them out for Santa to fix. We hardly had any time because church was at 9:00. The one day you want church at 1:00 is Christmas. Now we really do have 1:00 church. This picture also shows the first rug I bought and then later exchanged for another one. It was the softest rug ever. It looked silvery on one side and black on the other, but I didn't know that when I bought it. I really wanted gray, and I wasn't loving it. Be honest, it looks like a giant, dead muskrat on the floor. I don't think I've ever bought the right rug on the first try. The bad thing was that this store didn't have a return policy, you could only exchange it. What was I thinking? I was so stressed by that! But I finally found one I like--that is much less dead-animal-hide-ish too.After stockings we had a quick pancake breakfast. Here they are dressed for church. It was my dream to have all four kids lined up at an island bar on bar stools. They love eating breakfast and lunch here. But, it only seats four, giving me yet another indication that I can't have any more kids. Think how many fights it would create? Also seen in this picture, another example of how utterly impossible it is for all four of them to smile at the same time. We made it to church mid sacrament, as in we missed the bread. Oh well. It was Christmas after all.

After church they opened their presents. The only thing that Alex said he wanted was a scooter, which naturally meant that all three of the older kids had to get one. They have a blast riding those things around in the unfinished basement and haven't as of yet broken any bones doing it. But we'll give that some time. They are constantly running into the wall or each other. Also, you know how the only red stocking was Erin's? This day the only outfit that wasn't red was hers. This was because I completely failed on the Christmas outfits this year. I ended up buying what you see at a consignment shop. Lame, but whatever. I should have bought those cute red dresses when I saw them instead of trying to find them again the week before Christmas. I did try, sort of.Erin had been saying she wanted a new jewelry box for months. I think she got one two years ago, but it was quickly ruined by some sibling or other. Erin was so specific too. It had to be pink, wooden, with fairies on it and a twirling fairy inside with music playing. I felt so proud to find it. The other thing she started asking for was an American Girl doll (thanks go to her best friend in Florida who has one, otherwise she wouldn't even know what they are). I told Jared how much they were and he brought me back to reality. "There is no way I am spending $100 on a doll!" he told me. Oh yeah. I ended up researching knock offs and got the cutest one I could find. You really can't tell them apart, unless you collect them (and believe me, that will not be us). When she opened it, instead of reading the brand of doll on the box, she exclaimed, "An American Girl doll!" She loves that doll! If anyone tells her it's not real, they are dead meat.Alex is so hard to shop for. If Erin is super specific, Alex is the complete opposite--totally non-descriptive in what he wants. "Just boy stuff. I don't really care what I get." He is happy with anything, but he isn't into any one thing. That's what makes it hard. He ended up getting the batman cave Trio set and Marble Works. My parents got them the Toy Story Lego set. Way awesome. (I'm not sure if Alex's picture strike is over here or not, but my guess is that it was temporary due to me maybe threatening to take all his presents away or something along those lines.)Jared had the most fun with marble works.For a long while Marissa kept asking for a baby doll with a baba. After I had already bought one, we unpacked some things from storage and she found her old baby doll with a baba. "I don't actually need one anymore," she informed me. That's when she decided she wanted a spydenscope instead, whatever that was. "Marissa, did you ask Santa for that?" I asked her. "No, but he's going to get it for me," she kept telling me. Great. I tried my best to figure out what exactly a spydenscope was and got her a cheap telescope. Maybe I was way off, but what else could I have done? Update on the spydenscope: something inside it is now dislodged rendering it even more useless than it was before. Another update: the kids just informed me it's actually a "spotting scope", you know, like to spot the moon, and I still have no idea what they are talking about. The other thing she got was a play toaster, hot chocolate maker (because we don't drink coffee), and a cool blender that actually sort of works. She kept trying different things out in it and was really mad when raw carrots didn't work. Update on that gift: the top of the blender is now completely melted due to one of Connor's new obsessions, putting random items in the oven. And yes, this was the best picture I got of her all day.I didn't catch what Connor wanted, due to the fact that he still speaks Chinese. But there are three things in life that Connor loves: balls, tools and vacuums. Seriously, even as a little baby he loved the vacuum. Weird kid. He wouldn't sit still for a picture, but he got a tool set, a toy vacuum and lots of balls. I couldn't even find them all because he'd thrown them all over the house. I think he ended up getting 8 of them. Excessive? Maybe, but that kid loves to play ball. I may have to donate some to the nursery as there is only one in the entire nursery room.Connor with his safety goggles. Love this kid!Jared and I did a good job of avoiding the camera this year, though it was my intention to get a family shot. We both got a potato masher in our stockings (since we fill each others). This was only because every time Jared went to mash potatoes he asked me if we had one and the answer has always been the same for 9 years, "No, we don't have one." Now we have two. Jared got new work clothes, a Kelly Kettle and a new set of keys, after losing his downtown somewhere. I got a new set of Pyrex dishes with lids that I love, a muffin tin and a new blog book. It was a good Christmas. The best present of all was our new house, but Jared was smart to get me something other than just that:)

We spent Christmas Eve with Jared's family where the kids acted out a stellar performance of the Nativity. Marissa was a sheep, Alex was a shepherd, our doll Dot played baby Jesus, and Erin was an angel with her cousin Rebecca. They sang and spoke and did a great job.

On Christmas night we went to my parents' house where we had another great family dinner with everyone. What a blessing it was to celebrate our Savior's birth through song, family and a wonderful spirit that is always present around that time of year. Merry (very belated) Christmas!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Post, Finally

So, it's January. Huh. I have felt somewhat uninspired lately to blog, probably because I always feel like I need to put pictures with it and I've been having issues with that lately. But Jared had another blog book printed up for me for Christmas and it is a great family journal. And I just made it a goal to blog here once a week. Watch out.

First, the weather has been so beautiful--warm (for winter), sunny, mild. It certainly makes me happy to see the sun, even though we will probably be in for some serious drought issues if we don't get some snow soon. It sure is nice to be "warm" for our first winter back.

We've had some great family get togethers lately. This morning we got together for Jared's neice's baby blessing and tonight we had family home evening with my side of the family. I have to say, I love being close to our families! What a blessing. We had a house warming party with Jared's family on New Year's Eve day. There were 33 people here and the house fit everyone perfectly. When the kids got too loud, we sent them upstairs or downstairs. I love having a separation! Toys stay upstairs and food stays downstairs--for the most part anyway. In our house in Florida the kids' bedrooms were right by the front door so you were always tripping over toys, in the entry way. This house has been so much easier to keep clean, or at least the parts that people see. Am I really not as messy as I thought? Our bedroom stays clean due to our big walk in closet. What a concept. And the laundry...

Hands down, the best part of this house is the laundry room. I may have said it before, but it still holds true. I love it enough to make it it's own paragraph, and a long one at that. It's not by any means huge, maybe 8' x 8', but it is so incredibly functional. The original plan from the model was the same size but not at all as useful. There was a counter across the back wall with a corner by the washer that was completely unusable. Then, the door took up the only other wall making that area unusable too. To top it off, when our friends across the street got their washer inside their laundry room, they couldn't even open one of the drawers in the cabinet. What we did instead was move the door to the middle of the room and move the counter to the wall where the open door was. Then we made it a pocket door so that you could still access the counter on one side and the washer/dryer on the other. The wall opposite the door is for baskets and there's still room for a garbage can and shelf on that side. The kids are getting a hang of sorting into three colors so it goes from the baskets to the washer right there. Folding laundry is a joy. The sun streams through the window as I fold and I honestly think the words, "I love this room" whenever I do. Each child has their own basket to put away, but I can leave them there until night time and it doesn't look messy like it would on my bed or in the family room. It belongs there. Laundry never comes downstairs. It's right between the kids' rooms and right across from the bathroom. I can even keep an eye on kids in the bath while I fold.

Wow, sorry about that ramble. I really do enjoy doing laundry now that I have this room.

We finally finished painting our banister. Wow. That was rough. I can't tell you how much time it took. After de-glossing, sanding, wiping, priming, and then putting the first coat on by hand and having it drip down each baluster, and then sanding the drips off, we finally came to the (correct) conclusion that we needed to use a paint sprayer. We toyed with renting one, but in the end, we bought one. It worked so great! The banister is still not perfect, but it looks a lot more professional that it would have with a brush. And I love it so much more white than the natural wood color that didn't match anything. Oh, and there were so many spots that were so hard to get to! Ugh, it probably would have been worth the extra $700 they wanted for them to do it. But, I got a paint gun out of it. Awesome! No regrets there.

We were really careful to cover things with plastic and hold cardboard up behind the banister as we sprayed, but the next morning I woke up to find little white specks all over the nice, new wood floor. I was a bit panicked, thinking it was paint and that we had surely ruined our new house, but luckily it was just dust. Phew. This is what prompted the next change in our house. It's known as "Mommy's Office". It's ghetto, but we stapled up some plastic in part of the unfinished basement to create a room just for painting. Granted, it's probably not as exciting for the average human, but to me, this ranks right up there next to say, the laundry room. My very own enclosed place to inhale as many fumes as I want while fulfilling my raging inner desire to create! I'm weird. I've already painted two things down there, and yes, it was everything I had always dreamed of. Now we just need to install a utility sink in the basement so that our kitchen sink doesn't get so, you know, painty.

I've been working on the girls' room and trying to make it cute, since I never seemed to focus on that before and doggone-it, if there's any time my kids are going to want a girly room, it's probably now. I made a quilt for Erin, gave her the blue desk I painted, redid a chair I found on the side of the road in Florida, painted my old mirror pink, put up one of those canopies around her bed, made a pillow and hung some homemade (slightly uneven) purple sequined curtains. Now she wants the whole room purple with butterfies on the wall. Hopefully the whole thing will be done by the end of this week. I will post pictures of everything when I can.

Amidst the girl room project, Alex noticed that the boy room was not getting any attention whatsoever. He, in fact, is sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I suppose I can understand the inequality of it all. I promised him that he would get a bunk bed in January. I had been looking for bunk beds for a while, but either they were lame and cheap or they were cool and off the charts expensive. So, I did what any borderline insane mother would do, I hauled the kids and two cars down to Lowes to buy $250 worth of wood to build him an awesome castle bed, complete with a slide. I am probably about 4 times more excited than he is. Wouldn't you have loved something like that as a kid? Getting the wood home was a challenge in itself, hence the need to take two cars. We pulled all the car seats and seats out of the mini-van and still had to tie some 4' x 8' pieces of wood on the top of the car. It reminded me of the time we puzzled our new vanity and 8' x 10' shed into the van, and still managed to bring two car seats and a double stroller home in the same trip. What makes us think that anything will fit in the mini-van anyway? Our next car will be a truck. We started on the first tower on Saturday. Fun times, I tell you, fun times. I'm actually not sure which is more crazy, building our computer desk in the garage in Florida in the middle of summer or building this bunk bed in our garage in Utah in the middle of winter.

Jared loves his new job. It's been a great change for his career. He's also been playing racquetball every Thursday and has found some good tournaments to play in. Good news, they're not on Sunday in Utah. Go figure. Bad news about Utah, every resident living in Utah county is at Costco, Walmart or Smith's on Saturday night so as to keep the next day holy. I should talk, I was there too. The kids have been getting to know the neighbor kids and we have done a couple of things with a few of the neighbors too. I'd been debating about whether to put Alex into preschool, but in the end I decided to do a little home preschool with him and Marissa during Connor's nap. I actually love the time with them. And it saves me money (so I can buy stuff like paint sprayers instead). I am still getting used to taking Erin to the bus stop. I've been late a few times. Strict schedule. It's an extra 35 minutes that she is gone too. I struggle with her being gone so long and then still having to do homework. She does enjoy school though. The ward is still overwhelmingly gigantic, and growing. They handed out the list for primary today. Yep, 200 kids, 40 teachers, 20 classes, 2 full primaries, and 100 of them are ages 3-5. No joke. My kids weren't even on the list yet. The hallway feels strangely like moving livestock around. The bishop invites people to sit in the choir seats on the stand because the place all the way to the back of the gym is entirely full. So weird. I feel very lost and not at all needed in the ward, but since I know so many of my immediate neighbors, it makes it somehow okay.

Okay, Jared actually has to go to work now... it's 12:15 am. Every few months they have to go in in the middle of the night to test something or other. The good news is, he'll be home before sunrise... (and then will sleep the rest of the day). But, whether he knows it or not, tomorrow will be a good bunk bed building day, don't you think?