Saturday, July 31, 2010

Part Two: The Rest

I really procrastinated finishing our camping story. The house and van and camping stuff aren't all put back together yet, and I guess it just reminds me of that. Bleh.

Anyways, we got there, set everything up, and tried to have dinner. Usually Jeff is amazing at building and maintaining fires, but everything was so wet he had a really hard time getting one going. We had an easy dinner of hot dogs, etc., but we never made it to the s'mores. We thought we had plenty of time for those later.

Well, long story short--

The night wasn't too bad. Katelyn had to cry herself to sleep, but did well after that. Jeffy ended up sleeping on the floor, since he rolls around like a maniac, but he had plenty of blankets, so he was ok too.

In the morning, we could not get a fire started, so my hard work in getting awesome breakfasts prepared went to waste. We were going to have either breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos heated over the fire. Nope, we had cold cereal. Oh well.

We lazed around for a bit, then had some fun. We went to the Sacred Grove, which was the whole point of going. Jeff had some alone time there which he really enjoyed. After that we went to a mom-n-pop burger joint that we had found on our honeymoon. It was fun to go back, but this time around we realized how expensive it actually was. Still fun, though.

Then we went swimming at the campground. That was fun too. It was an overcast day, so not too hot, and the water was kind of cold. Kate still had a great time and loved it, but Jeffy didn't. He clung to either me or Jeff like his life depended on it. We got some ice cream then headed back to our site.

That afternoon it rained and rained and rained. We stayed in the tent and watched movies. When it was finally over, we looked outside and saw that a giant mud puddle had taken over our site. I don't know if I was overly hormonal or what, but that was too much for me. I envisioned the mess that Jeffy would make with that mud, the food we wouldn't get to eat because of the rain, and how much work camping was going to be from this point out. I just kind of sat in a camp chair with a totally dejected look on my face.

Jeff asked if I wanted to just go home. I did, but I felt bad saying so. It was only Saturday and we had paid to stay till Monday. I felt bad about the wasted money. I said "kind of." This was Jeff's shining moment. He didn't make me feel bad about wanting to go home at all. We called it quits and threw everything into the van and headed home. It was a 4-hour drive, and we got started at around 8:00 pm. We were just that desperate to get home. Jeff drove the whole way while Jeffy, Katelyn, and I slept. What a trooper. As soon as we were inside our own home, we all felt much better.

I have very mixed feelings when I think back on this trip. In some ways it was a success, because we did what we went there to do. And I think Heavenly Father wanted us to do it too, since we had so much help getting there. But after we had accomplished that, it was like he backed off and let the elements take over. So in some ways it was a bust too. I don't know, my biggest feeling about the whole thing was just relief when it was over.

Anyways, we got our camping fix for the next little (or maybe long) while. We decided next time we get the urge to go camping, we're just going to put up our camp chairs around the grill and make hot dogs and s'mores in our backyard. Then sleep in our own beds. The best of both worlds, wouldn't you say?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Camping Adventure Part One: Surviving the Trip

Jeff had a four-day weekend so we planned to go camping. Yay for plans! I worked hard all week, preparing food, going shopping, cleaning, etc., and we were all excited to get on our way.

We planned to leave Friday morning. The kids and I sat in the car for what felt like forever, waiting for the last few things to be packed. The car was on, so it was idling, and this turned out to be a very bad thing. Before we could hit the road, we had to stop at the Post Office and the gas station. Of course the Post Office took a long time. We sat and waited in the car again. Then a light came on in the car that looked like a thermometer. I don't know much about cars, but I do know that when a light comes on, it's bad. I immediately turned the car off.

We drove down the street to the gas station. When we were ready to go, that light came on again, and Jeff turned the car off. I guess that particular light means the car is overheating. (BAD). We popped the hood and checked it out, and saw it was out of coolant. It said to make sure you put the right kind in, but since we had no idea what the right kind was, Jeff ran in and got a gallon of water and poured some of it in instead.

The light didn't come back on, but we watched the heating needle go up and down, and Jeff tried to drive gently. After a little while, we discovered that no air blowing on us made a hug difference and the temperature gauge stayed steady the rest of the trip. (Turns out Jeff should actually listen to my suggestions once in a while! :)) We drove for about 3 1/2 hours without incident, just making sure to put water in the cooling system every hour or so.

Then we were 2.5 miles away from our final destination and kaput, the engine died. I didn't realize this was what happened-- it sounded like something just fell off. But no, the engine was dead, and we were coasting. We got the car onto a side road, and got out. Jeff looked in the hood, but didn't see anything obviously wrong. I got the kids and some camp chairs out, and prepared myself for a long afternoon. We were very lucky though, since for the whole trip, it had been raining cats and dogs, but while we were stranded, it didn't rain at all. Thank goodness.

Jeffy had fun running around in puddles and Katelyn and I sat in my chair and supervised. Jeff fiddled around with it for a little while, then decided we needed help. (duh.) Across and down the street there was what looked like a towing company or something, so Jeff headed over there to see if someone could give us a jump. A nice man named Sean came over and again, we were really lucky. He was actually a car mechanic.

Jumping didn't help anything, but Sean looked around and saw that the belt had come off and gotten tangled in itself. He went back to get some tools. About half an hour later, everything was fixed (except the coolant thing) and we were ready to get back on the road. I was so grateful for Sean's help. How lucky to break down right by a mechanic's shop! We tried to give him some money, but he wouldn't take it. Nice guy.

Later Jeff told me that Sean said he had never in his career seen a belt do that. Good thing he could help us, as I'm sure there was no way we could have fixed it by ourselves. And we were lucky that they were there. Sean said usually no one was around the office, since they would be out towing people. If we had to break down, that was the right time and the right place. :)

And we finally made it to the campsite! I was so relieved-- there were many moments when I didn't think we were going to make it. We checked in, and drove to our sight. There we saw a bunch of trees and . . . mud. Everywhere. Originally, the site was dirt, but so much rain turned it into a giant mud puddle. Have you ever tried to camp with two small kids in a giant mud puddle? Life becomes all kinds of exciting.

Stay posted for Part Two: Camping in the Mud

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kitchen Check-in

Wondering how I've been doing with my project? Let me sum it up in one sentence:

Today is Friday and my entire house has been clean for 6 days.

If I could insert a sound clip of the Hallelujah Chorus to play right here, I totally would. Yes, it's true. Every room in my house (kitchen included, storage closet excluded :)) is clean and has been for almost a week!

Last week I went a little crazy and found myself in the middle of an organizing frenzy. I went through all the clothes and put them in bins according to gender and size. I rearranged the whole house and probably overdid it moving furniture, but it's so much better now. I organized the toys and put everything that comes in a set into a ziploc bag, so they can only be played with one set at a time. I organized our bedroom and got everything in order there. And then I did the kitchen.

And you probably won't be surprised to know that I put the kitchen off till dead last, just because I dreaded it so much. But when there wasn't really anything else to do, I had to tackle it. And with the help and encouragement of the hubby, we got it done. But, the part I'm most proud of is that I've kept it up. I've been doing dishes every day (YUCK!) and really working hard to maintain it. I am feeling so good!

And I'm feeling more freedom. The kids and I have been out and about doing fun things much more since the house is clean. I don't feel like I have to stay home and clean. I also feel like I can invite people over to our house and be more social, but the best part is that I feel generally happier and more capable as a mom.

It's been great and I'm determined to keep it up. I guess having a very small home is nice in one way!

So the house is clean. Visitors welcome anytime!

As long as you don't look in the garage. ;)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weekend Extravaganza

We had a great weekend. I love the 4th of July. If we ever have a house and a backyard, we're going to host awesome 4th of July parties!! I can't wait.

Until then, there are lots of other activities to keep us busy.

This is what we did last weekend:

  • Went to a bbq with a bunch of other families from our ward. We ate good food, Jeffy ate a lot of sand, and we all went home tired and happy.
  • Went to Pizza Hut for some yummy dinner and to a ma-n-pop outdoor ice cream place for dessert. I love watching Jeffy eat ice cream cones!
  • Bought a tent, camping chairs, air mattress, and CARS sleeping bag. Haven't gotten to go camping yet, but they were fun to buy!
  • Set up our new ginormous tent in our family room and had a "camp out" complete with hot dogs, corn on the cob, and potato salad. Glad we now know how to set it up and also glad that Jeffy didn't tear a hole in it while playing.
  • Actually went to a firework show for the first time since we've been together and got to use our new chairs. So fun! Jeffy freaked out and wouldn't let go of Daddy, and Katelyn held onto me pretty tightly too, but overall a great success!
  • Went to a playdate with some friends who have a wading pool. It was too cold for Jeffy's taste, so he just threw the toys off the deck, but Katelyn loved the water! We may have to get some kind of little pool.
Is that it? I think so... at least the major things. We also lamented the fact that we no longer have a working camera. So many picture opportunities lost. Gotta replace that soon!

Hope your weekend was just as fun!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Love America, Yes I Do!

Today I played the piano in Relief Society. The planned songs were the "Star Spangled Banner" and "My Country Tis of Thee." I'd never played these songs before, so I practiced quite a bit this week. It was wonderful to have that patriotic music playing so frequently in our house this week. I love the lyrics to both those songs, but the third verse of the National Anthem is the one that sticks with me the most:

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just!
And this be our motto: "In God is Our Trust!
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

There's something stirring about this song. It makes people sing their hearts out. We had about 10-12 women in Relief Society today, and when they sang, it sounded like a full choir. It was beautiful.

I love America. I'm proud to live here and to have a proud heritage of hard-working, good people.

God Bless the USA!