28 June 2015

Special Visit from Santa Call




















We had a pretty fun, relaxed week. I am getting used to my new glasses, it's been a long time since I last had thick frames. I do like that the nose rests are missing, they feel more comfy not digging into my nose bridge. We are following a fun daily theme this summer:

Make Something Monday
Try Something New Tuesday
Wander Wednesday
Thoughtful Thursday
Fabulous Friday

It helps me as a Mom do something a little different each day. The kids really look forward to these little activities. This week the kids made 4th of July art on Monday. Amelia helped me make a new recipe for dinner, ham and cheese noodles. Wednesday we drove to Peetz for Visiting Teaching. Thursday the kids made welcome cards for Grandma and Grandpa Call. Friday we had a fabulous day with our visitors. I have some large plastic sheeting to make a water bubble this week...hopefully.

With the Calls coming for a visit I had the perfect excuse to deep clean the house. Each day I focused on a different area in the house, like bedrooms, bathrooms, basement, kitchen, and living room. I hired a YW in my ward earning money for girl's camp to come help me deep clean the kitchen. She scrubbed all the cabinets, walls, and baseboards. It was so wonderful to have a captive audience that did not argue with me about cleaning! Flicked my wish and she made it come true. I have 6 more hours of cleaning coming my way and I am dreaming up "fun" jobs. As part of the kid's chores they cleaned their room, dusted, and acted as go-fers. The best part was cleaning the front window with the hose and a rag. Evelyn squealed each time the water hit the window.

Wednesday we enjoyed a fun time at the library going through Super Hero Training Camp. The kids made a super mask, saved a baby from a fire, dressed like a hero, lifted a boulder, ferried kryptonite to a bottle, lifted 100 and 1000 pounds, busted down a building wall, and hopped through hoops. The entire set up was quite clever and very entertaining for the kids. The YW finished sewing and pinning their camp quilt. I will bind it somehow at home since that is a one person job. The ladies seemed to enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to square up the quilt, trim it, and keep the layers together.

Friday morning I had a newborn girl come visit us. She was very sweet and one of the sleepiest babies ever. She let me pose and move her over and over. Her mom is a good friend of mine who owns the child consignment store in town. Her two girls were just precious. Most of the time I let the studio stuff hang out in the basement until I find time to clean it up. An hour after the session the basement was pristine (a rarity). I was sweating so much I took a shower. Gross. I looked out the window after my shower to find Phillip holding Evelyn on her lap while they waited for the Calls to arrive. The Calls showed up around 12:30. Justin was gone to Colorado for the day so we got to entertain them for the afternoon. We were ravenous so decided on a lunch at Subway. The boys kept Grandpa highly entertained. It is sort of strange to watch Amelia grow up. She is much quieter now when around folks she does not know. Not quiet shy, but reserved shy, a maturity that will continue to grow...it was like looking at myself! Grandpa's beard was highly entertaining. Grandpa finally lured Evelyn onto his lap for a split second with a piece of candy. The kids worked really hard cleaning house with me so I took the older ones for an hour at the pool. The Calls and Evelyn took a much needed nap. Justin got home around 6:00 pm. He wanted to take his parents out to Dude's steak house so we went out again. Yikes. Everett cracked me up by ordering shrimps bodies for dinner (fried shrimp). He enjoyed figuring out which end contained the tails or heads. After dinner we enjoyed the side yard until the mosquitoes came out.  Grandpa brought a kid motorcycle helmet so Justin can take the kids on motorcycle rides. He also gave the kids kites to play with. The best was watching them play "Go Fish" with the kids. The Calls were gone by 6 am, wanting to visit Martin's Cove before heading down to Utah.

Justin gave the three older kids a ride on his motorcycle. That was quite a fun experience for them all. Thanks Grandpa! Justin and I somehow managed to clean the garage on Saturday. That was totally unplanned but really needed. It ends up acting like a catch all. I hosed down the garage floor, a flood of memories hit me as I remember skating on the garage floor when we lived in Fayetteville. Those were fun times. I vacuumed the van (again, and again) and took out all the clutter than somehow manages to collect in less than a week. I wish we had a waterproof van, you know open the doors and spray it all clean, floors included. A nifty incline function helps the water drain out leaving a spotless vehicle. In my dreams.

21 June 2015

Amelia Gets Braces




















The big news this week is that Amelia now has braces on her top teeth. We went up to Scottsbluff early Wednesday morning for an 8:50 am appointment. That was quite the feat to get 5 folks ready to leave by 7:15 am. First the dentist checked her teeth then made a mold of her teeth/mouth to use when making and fitting the appliance and molar braces. The mold seemed like a terrible experience! Imagine stuffing a large tray of marshmallows into your mouth and not barfing for an entire minute. We left at 9:20 and had to be back by 11 am to fit the appliance and braces. The kids were good sports while I checked out the new Hobby Lobby. The kids stocked up on fun summer crafts and I got a pattern and material to make Pioneer bonnets. We went back and the Dentist adhered the braces, appliance, back molar anchors, and wires. Amelia chose pink and blue bands this time. She was quite excited about the entire experience. The pain did not start until later that evening. She discovered that eating with braces is an entirely new experience. Her teeth hurt so much that eating anything remotely hard is nearly impossible. Amelia is delighted that her favorite food of mac n'cheese remains at the top of her diet. She got some rice and refried beans for lunch. Since Wednesday she is taking lots of pain medications and eating like a mouse, nibbling a bit here and there. She carries her tooth care pack with her everywhere to brush her teeth and keep those braces clean. Flossing teeth with braces is an entirely new experience. She showed off her new braces at the first Activity Days activity soon after we arrived home. Her leaders hosted a fun BBQ at the park. We let the boys and Evelyn play at the park while Amelia had her activity.

We went swimming nearly everyday this week. We went Monday to the local pool, swam in the wading pool on Tuesday, visited the cool water park/pool at Scottsbluff, Amelia went Thursday to Sterling, we all went to Sidney pool Friday, and then to Julesburg pool on Saturday. The kids are slowly honing their swim skills. Phillip is very adventurous and loves to swim underwater! Amelia learned how to fetch toys from the bottom of the pool this week, she loves to dive underwater now. Evelyn is still learning how to float around with the puddle jumper floaties. She is not fond of wearing them because she kicks her feet in front of her which flips her face up to the sky. I think she made some progress on Saturday because the pool had no baby pool so if she wanted to swim she had to wear the floatie. We went to wish Bella goodbye at her birthday party in Julesburg, CO. They are moving to Syracuse, UT this week. The kids were able to jump off the diving board because we had such a small group. A lifeguard stationed herself in the deep end catching kids. The three older kids jumped off the diving board most of the time.

Monday was make something Monday. The kids made Justin Father's Day gifts for our creative day. Each kid made a puppet out of paper bags, sequins, and googly eyes. We made him a cute hand print art canvas. Evelyn got a hold of the sequin bag and dumped it on the carpet. That was fun to clean up. Thursday the boys did a little more creative play with a plaster dino kit we got in SB. I helped mix up the plaster and fit it in molds. The boys then painted all the dinos throughout the day. It was a fun activity to keep the boys busy while Mia was with Ella at the pool.

Tuesday we went to Storytime park at the library, had lunch at the park while listening to super hero stories. Everett was totally enamored with the book "Bug Patrol." This week we hope to attend Super hero academy! The kids will be able to show off their hero skills. All my kids reached the reading goals this past week. I am so proud of their love for reading and books. After storytime we made bubble snakes. You take a water bottle, cut off the wider end, wrap and old sock around it and secure with a rubber band. I made bubble solution out of dish soap and water. The experiment worked amazingly well. We especially loved putting food coloring on the socks to make rainbow bubbles. The bubble snakes worked even better when dipped in the pool to water down the solution. Amelia discovered that the snakes would stick to unsuspecting bums as a fox tail. Soon the experiment devolved into a delight of water, bubbles, and half-dressed kids.  

Evelyn had a nasty bum rash earlier this week. I finally let her run around in a spare pair of Everett's undies to allow her rash to air out. I think she drank too much pond water at Bridgeport Lake last week. Justin and I also dealt with similar digestive issues, we did not drink pond water so am now unsure where the distress stemmed from. The older kids set up a camp ground on the front lawn. They played out in the lawn for several hours while pretending to camp.

Thursday we enjoyed having lunch with ladies from the RS at the park. Alison brought fried chicken and the ladies brought side dishes to share. The kids were drawn to the busy road because of a nice hill they could roll down. Scared us mommies to see our kids so close to the road. Alison took Amelia and Ella to Sterling pool afterwards. Alison said the girls swam until 5:30 pm! No wonder Mia was so tired. Amelia got to play with Ella Tuesday night as well while Alison and Morley saw Jurassic World. Everett was stuffing his undies with rocks, the rocks fell out of his undies. It was quite obscene. I caught a couple motorists giving Everett double takes as rocks fell out of his pants.

Friday we watched 6 extra kids while the parents went to see Jurassic World. Justin was a good sport! It was a little crazy with so many young kids. The Rognon's have duplicates of our kid's ages, the Campos have kids near Phillip and Evelyn ages so those two were in triplicate form. We walked down to let the kids play at South Elementary playground. Back at home the kids enjoyed popsicles. Evelyn shared hers with Annabelle. Evelyn also tried to give Annabelle hugs, they ended up as choke holds due to Annie's smaller size. Justin and I got to watch the same movie Saturday night. It was pretty intense. I think keeping dinos as extinct is a pretty good idea.

I spaced another photo shoot on Friday. Evelyn got up at 5:30 again so we walked the town for 90 minutes. By 8:30 I was ready for a nap and fell asleep on the couch. When the doorbell rang at 9 I was unprepared for an early morning photo session. I asked the gentleman at the door if he was here to quote me a price to install egress basement windows. He was a bit confused! We were out of the door and ready 3 minutes later! Sheesh, my brain. The funny thing was I checked my calendar the night before and knew I had this appointment early the next day.

Justin was spoiled this morning with the kid's crafts and breakfast in bed. True love is when your wife gets up and makes you sausage/bacon and egg English muffins. Amelia decorated his plate with a rainbow horse and fresh flower. Phillip carried a mug of milk. Everett yelled, "Happy Birthday!" while the other two yelled, "Happy Father's Day!" Phillip drew him a cute card showing off the front and back of his head, Phillip's resemblance was on the side. We sure love our Justin! He is a great Dad. Of course my Dad was also in my thoughts today. All his hard work and sacrifice to support 8 kids on military income. That is a miracle.

14 June 2015

Fishing with Accountants














































We had a really fun week! Last week I forgot to tell a story about Amelia. We were at Salvation Army, Amelia came up to with a flimsy plastic bat and said "Mom! We should get this for Dad on Father's Day so he can beat us when we are bad!" Justin was quite delighted with the idea. Several folks in the store looked a bit shocked. I laughed and gave her a hug, we settled on a different gift instead.

Monday we visited the local pool on suggestion of Mrs Cassie. She came by to pick up some toys I sold her when she mentioned an afternoon at the pool. It was quite humid and hot, so off we went. I still have a little girl swimsuit obsession, Evelyn looked very cute in swimsuit number 3 out of 9. Amelia wore a new thrifted suit I found last week, it has reversible bottoms....um....freakin' adorable, especially for only $2. Evelyn is quite courageous in the water. She likes to sit down even when the water is above her head, she pops up with a huge grin on my face. The poor lifeguard (and I) were on our toes the entire time. I LOVE the reusable swim diapers, pretty much a plastic and cloth lined diaper. We stayed until the pool closed and shooed us out. We enjoyed a simple dinner of something or another. I taught a FHE lesson on how to bear one's testimony. Amelia helped me write on the chalkboard ideas and guidelines. Everyone bore their testimony with our play microphone. Poor Amelia was so tired she melted down with a nasty crying spell, missing the rest of FHE. Everett lead us in a rousing game of "Father, May I?"

Tuesday was the hottest, clearest day of the week. We visited Sterling Pool for another afternoon of fun. Evelyn continued her fascination with pool bottom sitting. She even walked clear over her head into the water with a huge grin on her face. Phillip was done swimming after an hour. He sat huddled under a towel with a bag of crackers. Everett and Amelia love to just swim and swim. Amelia found her friend Crystal at the pool. The girls practiced swimming under the water. At one point Everett disappeared. I looked in the baby pool, the wading pool, the picnic area, and on the water slides. I found the little bugger all alone in the indoors pool floating happily on his back. He was not happy I made him go back outside with us.

I finally got around to cleaning the kitchen and mopping the kitchen floor. Amelia earned a chore magnet, helping me mop the floor 4-5 times. It was gross...but gosh darn it, I LOVE my mottled brown floor tiles. Phillip, Everett, and Evelyn joined the fun dusting, wiping windows, and cleaning Lego's at least three times per day. We had a fun picnic on the floor for lunch since the dining room floor was still wet. We live the high life over here! Last Tuesday Amelia convinced me to help her make sugar crystals. She decided on a double recipe of 2 cups water and 4 cups sugar. She flavored the crystals with kool-aid powder. We heated and stirred the concoction until it was boiled down. A couple chopsticks, cups, and clothes pins finished the process. A week later we checked the crystals! Finally! Crystals large enough to enjoy a sugary treat. Amelia enjoyed a nice play date with Lily Bowcutt. The girls played and played until dinner time.

Phillip and I had optometrist appointments this week. The last time I visited the optometrist was three years ago, my poor glasses are quite beaten up. Phillip has excellent vision so far. He passed his kindergarten checkup. I picked out new frames and a pair of sunglasses.

I was in charge of combined YW this week. We cut fabric and sewed up a quilt top for girl's camp. I enjoyed hearing the whir of sewing machines at church. Made my heart flutter. The girls made a cute diagonal pattern with 10 inch squares. Next week or the week after we will finish sewing it up and binding it. The girls will tie it at camp.

I had 5 photo sessions this week. Tuesday I had four then a newborn session on Friday. Gina Hill, the YW president, had her baby early, early Tuesday morning. Baby Kate was perfectly sleepy and poseable. The other sessions were mostly pro bono work for folks who deserved gorgeous photos. One little baby had the cutest bit of red hair. Another family purchased a gift certificate at a school fund raiser, she is the manager of Auditing at Cabela's. Justin works closely with her at times. Justin was quite patient that evening as I was gone a couple hours.

Friday afternoon we drove to Sterling Lake for a fishing party with Justin's department. Someone grilled up hot dogs and others provided salads and chips. The kids snacked on chips the rest of the afternoon. I knew the pull of the lake would be too great even though it was only 65 degrees that day. Sure enough innocent toe wetting turned into damp pants, then wet undies, then full-fledged swimming. I had packed extra dry clothes! Sometimes it is totally awesome to get wet in your regular clothes. Everett sported an awesome plumber's crack because of his wet drawers and skinny bum cheeks. Some folks enjoyed fishing. I fished for a while using Phillip's Star Wars pole and wet wriggly worms. Sadly, the hook was not large enough to actually hook a fish. All I got were nibbles a stolen worms. As I rejoined the party I noticed an orange shirt floating and thrashing in the water. I was sure Evelyn was drowning. I ran into the water knowing I was too far away. Thankfully, my yells caught the attention of Justin's coworker who saved little Michael Wood. Both babies wore orange shirts. I am still dreaming about bobbing orange shirt and waking up with a cold sweat imagining a floating baby in the water. It was a little terrifying. Michael is totally fine, other than a new exposure to pond water/bacteria. Evelyn drank her fill of lake water, she suffered a day or two of nasty diarrhea. Partly cloudy skies made for a lovely backdrop for photos. I had a blast! We left in a hurry to get home in time to feed the Elders. I quickly whipped up some chicken enchiladas and salad.

Saturday we volunteered to help out at the handcart station for Gold Rush Days. Amelia wore her cute prairie skirt and apron. I could not find her prairie bonnet in time for the event. More folks showed up than anticipated so we ended up just enjoying the festivities. Shane set up his black smith booth, and made fun items using 1800s black smithing techniques. The kid's favorite stations were the gold panning, holding goats/bunnies, and the cotton candy booth. Sister Franken managed the candle dipping station. The boys ended up with funny shaped candles that looked like head bonkers. Justin and I took turns carting the kids around in the handcarts. Everett loved on some nice lady when we rode the horse and wagon. He started by sharing his cotton candy, by the end of the ride he was almost in her lap. One guy dressed up as a trapper showed the boys how a snap trap works. The boys got to spring the trap with a long stick. The trapper dressed the boys up in skins and gave them weapons. That was memorable! Amelia stayed a while longer with Ella. The Elders said participating in Gold Rush Days was the best experience of their missions! They got to talk with lots of folks using the pretense of pioneers and handcarts. An Elder escorted each handcart since the carts were stake property. I am glad they felt so successful.

In the evening I snuck out with Amelia to meet Gina and baby Kate again. I noticed Sister Elliott's tea roses were in bloom. Since Kate was such a sleepy babe I wanted to get some outdoor photos. She was so cooperative that 10 minutes later we were done.