26 July 2015

The Country Fair (take 7)



























I find myself looking forward to repetitious events and take boat loads of photos of the same things, each year from different perspectives. One such event is the Cheyenne County Fair. This week was fair week. Facebook was flooded with images of 4H kids competiting in fashion, baking, animals, and such. Course this week turned out to be sweltering with heat for all those kids. We enjoyed participating in several events throughout the week.

Whenever I happen to take all the kids to Walmart with me (as infrequently as possible) we always run into Sister Hermes. She calls our cart the "Party Cart!" Indeed I feel like the party cart is bouncing along the aisles with flashing lights and music in the form of 4 loud and wiggling humans. It is quite amusing! I enjoy watching the faces of those stuck with us during these excursions. The older folks call me a heroine, other mom's in similar dires just smiles, and other crochity folks hurry along. The social experiment of how multiple children affect Walmart shopping is quite nearly always a successful event. The result is a harried mom shoving groceries into the cart as fast as possible while trying not to lose a child to temper tantrums or purposely leaving said child in the shoe aisle.

The kids spent the afternoon outside painting window sun catchers as our craft this week. Our neighbor boy, Jawshua helped amuse the kids for a couple hours with painting and playing in the wading pool.  The kids had to use my rustic bench as their painting station. Grrrrr. Now it is properly broken into the Call family style of living. We fed the Elders my favorite summer meal of Bulgogi for dinner. It is easy and delish. The Elders taught us a fantastic FHE lesson on praying with purpose to further the Lord's work. After dinner we rolled around the front yard area for family time.

Tuesday morning I had a fantastic day planned in Scottsbluff. The weather thwarted all my well-laid plans. It started raining as soon as we left for the day. We picked up Ella on our way. Amelia had an ortho appointment at 9:50 to adjust her braces. It rained the entire day. We planned on spending the morning/afternoon at the zoo. Instead we drove around trying to find something to do. After the orthodontist we found the local YMCA, they had a pool and rock climbing wall. After I paid (with no refund possible) the lady informed me that swimming and climbing were not open until after 6 pm. What?! We got to play basketball in their sweaty gym for 30 minutes. Inside said gym was the off-limits rock wall. Talk about frustrating! We went to lunch at Wendy's then shopped for school supplies at Target. We headed home after a boring trip. Just as Evelyn dropped off to sleep the rain stopped. I tell, you karma was out to thwart our fun day. The rain followed us home, it rained the rest of the day as the storm made it's way south. As soon as we got home Amelia started to complain that her braces wire was poking the back of her mouth. I tried to trim the wire with pliers, scissors, nail clippers, and kitchen scissors. She cried and cried. It was awful! Wax would only help and stay put for a little while. I finally got someone to talk me through the process of trimming her wire. The problem is her mouth is so small I can't get access to the back of her mouth. I ended up pulling the wire out a bit and bending it down. They can readjust it next time. We learned the importance of telling about poking wires before we leave the orthodontist's office.

Wednesday afternoon I had a fun newborn session with a little lady named Evelyn! Her mom had no idea of her gender before birth, the dad knew. Kayla was convinced she was having a boy, so surprise for her. I enjoyed taking cute photos of Annie and her new sister. Annie was the most obedient little girl ever. For once, sibling photos were quite enjoyable. Eventually Kayla and I took Evelyn outside for a couple photos with a vintage chair in her family. Those were pretty cute.

We finally took the kids to see a Monster Truck show! They come through every once in a while. Phillip adores monster trucks, so when it was part of the fair entertainment we signed up. Before the show we got to walk down in the arena and see the trucks, motorcycles, lawn mowers, and quads up close. The Ice Cream Man truck was the hit vehicle of the evening. Everett and Evelyn were done with the show before it even started. It was a long 40 minute wait. Once it started the kids enjoyed the first round, the second and third rounds not so much. Evelyn learned how to cover her ears, that was pretty cute. It was loud, dusty, and the air quite polluted. The trucks were pretty fantastic with all the tricks they performed. Phillip's eyes were peeled open the entire time. Amelia convinced us to get funnel cakes after the show at the carnival. I totally enjoyed the evening.

Thursday I cleaned up the house a bit since the Hendersons and Abbotts were on their way home after a long vacation touring some northern and eastern states. I had two YW come over to help me clear up the clutter a bit. Dang, I need a couple of cooperative teens to come by once a week and help me clean up. It goes by so much faster. I made chinese noodle salad for dinner. We had a fun evening visiting with Miekka's family. I spent many holidays with the Hendersons during my college and young adult years. It is nice to return the favor! Our home expanded nicely to fit 8 extra people. Our large, spacious basement comes in handy. They left early the next morning for Utah. Marrisse told us about their lovely stay at the Ingalls homestead in South Dakota. I think we have a new destination to think about visiting. We are thickly involved in reading the series! A visit to see the actual homestead would be icing on the cake!

The kids and I went to see the 4H animals Friday morning. When we got there the kids were showing off their feeder calves in the judging ring. Amelia had her doll Samantha all dressed up to enjoy the fair. The kids always love the sheep/goat/rabbit barn. This year no poultry were allowed because of Avian Flu. Amelia helped Evelyn check out all the animals. Evelyn kept sticking her fingers into the rabbit cages and pretending the bunnies bit her. After several cries of wolf we redirected her to the goats. One goat tried to lick her little nose. She was quite delighted! Amelia and Everett loved the horse barn, one friendly horse smelled their hands with a huge huff of air. Our ward threw a pretty good picnic for Pioneer Day. The guys grilled up hot dogs and burgers. The families provided side dishes. Amelia was pretty excited to wear her pioneer dress.

Saturday morning I had two more mini photo sessions. I came home to find Justin working on the van's musty smell problems. He stripped the seats and plastic casing out of the van and was deep cleaning the carpets. He discovered a moldy patch behind Phillip's seat where some liquid had spilled then molded. I rented a steam cleaner and he shampooed the carpets. The van smells much better! I tell you, kids are gross. Unspeakable discoveries lay in wait for Justin to find as he cleaned. Our friends the Smuins dropped by while were cleaned and visited for a bit. After dinner Amelia convinced me to take her and Phillip to the carnival to ride two rides. I took them for their two rides. Some generous soul gave the kids enough tickets to ride 4 extra rides each. Darn it, so much for only 30 minutes of the carnival. The kids had a blast choosing rides and raving about their favorites. I convinced them to ride one that swung a boat back and forth. Amelia and Phillip got off exclaiming that the ride made them feel tingly and woozy. I laughed, remembering the heady feeling of carnival rides. I had fun taking panorama photos with my iPhone.

Last Sunday we delivered some cookies to our new neighbors. They had two friend visiting when we dropped off cookies. Everett, the ever loving child clasped their visitor around the legs and declared "I love you!" He loves a lot of folks. That is a good thing Everett. Humans are generally good to love.

19 July 2015

Pottery Wheel















We have new neighbors! A lovely newly married couple moved in on Sunday. It is very nice to have a young couple to liven up our block. The wife is a school para-aide and the husband works in archery at Cabelas. We plan on baking up cookies this afternoon to take over. Amelia wanted to get up at 6 am and go help pull weeds from their sidewalk and yard. She was picking all the dandelion stalks. I need to show her what real weeding entails.

Amelia wanted to do pottery on Monday for our arts and crafts project. The kids enjoyed playing with clay and water. I was pleased they could do it outside. Amelia made a rose, Phillip a blob with a middle, and Everett a cup of sorts. We got to use some new clay I found at Hobby Lobby last month. The kids painted their creations on Friday using metallic paint. We had a FHE lesson taught by me on reverence in church. Reverence is a focusing topic of this year. Based on today's church behavior the lesson did not penetrate with Everett or Evelyn. They did improve a bit. We used the kid's $5 DQ cards earned through the library summer program for our FHE treat. The kids all ordered Orange Julius. We sat outside and admired the lovely sunset.

Tuesday morning I photographed a tiny baby boy. He had the smallest head ever! The kids were thrilled to hold baby Eli for a moment of two. Evelyn was very excited to wear her "Let it Go" shirt. She broke out in song at random moment throughout the day. Right after the session we packed up and spent the rest of the day with the Haleys at Bridgeport Lake. Yep, still in love with all the water and sand. Evelyn wore me out as I closely followed her around as she tried to swim in water above her nose. She also learned how to take off her swimsuit and her puddle jumper. There was no keeping either item on her. I wanted a rope to tie under her arms so I could at least keep her head above water. She is a bonified fish. Everett pretended to be a mermaid most of the afternoon.  Ella and Amelia (and Phillip) spent most of the time in the deeper water practicing their underwater swimming skills.

Wednesday we all went to Phillip's ENT appointment with Dr Massey. We got there 10 minutes early at 9:50 to fill out paperwork. We were still waiting at 11 am. Can you imagine waiting at the Dr office for 70 minutes? Torture. I finally left and told the desk nurse I would be back in 20 minutes. She thought that was a good idea as well. I ran a couple errands then went back. We finally got in at 11:30. Several minutes later we were on our way! Dr Massey first had Phillip get a tympanic pressure reading to measure if he had fluid behind his ear drums. Dr Massey suggested he put tubes in and remove Phillip's tonsils and adenoids at the same time. Looks like the surgeries can be done here in Sidney. His nurse is supposed to call me to schedule a time next week. We hope that the surgeries will help restore some of Phillip's lost hearing.

Tessa did a wonderful job planning and preparing for the combined youth activity of water softball. Moments before the activity started a thunderstorm ripped over Sidney. We have a track record for nasty weather and youth activities. The kids played some indoor games until the storm passed. A lovely rainbow graced the sky while the kids played. It was great fun!

Thursday we had Ella over for the afternoon. I set up the plastic used as a slip and slide for the combined activity. The kids played on it for a solid two hours. Even Evelyn was quite amused and content to be outside. After dinner I got the girls dressed up in pioneer clothes and bonnets. I snapped some photos of Ella as Mary Ingalls, Amelia as Laura Ingalls, and Evelyn as Carrie Ingalls. The field I chose was chock full of nasty weeds (cheat grass) that made their way into boots, socks, and dresses. Soon all three girls were squirming and itching. That made it difficult to pull off my vision. Eventually the girls bucked up and enjoyed the moment for a moment. The girls looked so darling! We ripped off socks and boots before arriving at the van. It was bad.

Friday we spent the afternoon swimming at Sterling with several other families from our ward. Amelia and Lily were joined at the hip in the middle pool and on the slides. I hardly saw either girl. It was nice to have other moms around to chat with. We walked over to Sidney's main square after dinner to enjoy some outdoor music concert. One gal brought a cooler filled with water balloons! The kids enjoyed having a water fight. The kids licked Popsicles and danced in the street. Justin and I thought the cool weather was a nice break.

Saturday was quite boring. We did not do much of anything. Too many fights and arguments broke out, mostly over the dang Duplo blocks. SHARE!! Grrrrr. Justin had a speaking assignment in Cheyenne this morning. Going to church with 4 little ones is challenging! I always manage but Justin's extra set of hands always helps to maintain better reverence. He had mac n'cheese ready and on the table once we walked in the door after church! I was a little shocked! Nice play honey.

Amelia is desperately working on no whining for a day, she can earn a girl date with me if she succeeds. So far we are on week 2 of trying every day. That girl has a lot of whine! Maybe I need to set a more attainable goal for her to reach. She needs one on one time.  Evelyn's new trick is to belt out a piercing yell at the end of the "Let it Go" song. It is funny. She looked adorable at church with two pig tails and a pillowcase dress I sewed up last week.

12 July 2015

Our Sidney Family
























We loved FHE this year on the 6th of July. The Haley's hosted a 4th of July BBQ after the fact because they ran a fireworks stand through 10 pm on the 4th. We lucked out and got to spend the 4th with family and another great party with our ward family. Everyone brought their own meat to grill, a side dish, and a dessert. I made broccoli salad, deviled eggs, almond sheet cake, and we brought burgers to grill up. Alison made lettuce wedges drizzled in lemon dressing, yeah, it was yum. I think kids at a BBQ are hilarious. It is like a free for all for anyone under the age of 12. Dessert first? Yes, my mom is NOT watching. Nothing makes me laugh more than a chubby hand reaching over the counter tapping around looking for food within reach. The kids played more than they ate, however...this time each of my kids did spend a little time sitting and eating. That is no small feat. Phillip and Everett enjoyed most of the time on the tornado shelter moving dirt and rocks around. Evelyn is infatuated with "Ella" (add in some raspberries when pronounced) and enjoyed having someone follow her around on purpose. She showed off her newly acquired shirt removal tricks. Towards the end the boys brought out excess 4th of July fireworks and put on quite the show. Matt looked quite laughable holding a Roman Candle while it shot lights into the sky.

For Make it Monday, I was running out of steam and ideas. Amelia took me idea to make an obstacle course and ran with it. I found Everett a new toddler bed so was in the process of moving his mattress and old bed. They took the soft items and made a jumping course. Soon Amelia added a timed-Lego course, balance course, and other fun little obstacles. She saved the bacon this week.

Tuesday I ran an errand after dinner. I came home to the kids on the porch practicing for a rock star show. Each kid had a paper Jamz guitar and Amelia had pink lip gloss smeared on her face. Their concerts were pretty awesome. Amelia was in charge, errrr, the boss. She shoved the boys out of the way when it was her turn to perform. She can cause contention with her control issues.

Wednesday the kids went with me to mutual. Sarah Wood had the girls engaged in a pedicure/manicure evening. Everett insisted on green fingernails to match his Buzz Lightyear PJs. The kids splashed around in the rain a couple time throughout the day, they put on their warmest clothes early, which happened to be PJs. It was fun. The rain was nice! Justin stayed home with Evelyn and fixed the broken hardware on her dresser. I am so glad to have a working drawer again.

Thursday I engaged the kids in creative manual labor. They wanted to play in the water so I suggested we hand wash the van. I spent a while in the afternoon vacuuming and cleaning all the van surfaces. The carpet stinks in the van, it smells like mildew and curdled milk lately. Even after a nice baking soda vacuum the van is back to smelling like it was before. I filled a bin with water and soap. The kids ended up washing the garage floor and the van. I went around the van with a soft sponge and scrubbed all the dead bugs and transfer marks from bikes and items rubbing against the van. For a couple hours it looked and smelled amazing. We enjoyed a nice run to Sonic for cherry limeades for all our (my) hard work. The kids played for quite a while with the hose and the bin of water. The simple things right?! Also, I got to go to a Dr appointment all by myself that morning. Alia came to watch the kids so they did not have to enjoy a pap smear with me as well. Even though it was a pap smear, I enjoyed waiting quietly. I finally went to the billing office and settled all the bills from my thumb, Amelia's arm, and other little expenses.

What did we do for Fabulous Friday? Since I cleaned out the van we went to Bridgeport lake, it's flies, sand, and water. At least the van stayed clean over night. The water was still really high, only a couple yards from the parking area. The best part was the extra water was really shallow and warm. Evelyn had a blast wading in the shallow water. She performed her trick of wading in over her head several times. She still hates wearing a floatie. Phillip turned into a shark, Amelia and Ella were mermaids, and Everett was a sea turtle. Alison was there to chat with and enjoy her fun company. We left once dark clouds rolled over. Ironically, we went to the same ice cream shack for a treat before heading home. I can't wait to go again this next week. Lake time is the best time.

Evelyn was quite the stinker Thursday night/Friday morning. She woke up at 11:30 ready for the next day. I took her down to the basement where she rolled around on my chest for 3.5 hours. Every couple of moments she would shove a finger up my nose, pat my cheek, or sing Let it Go. She finally fell asleep at 3:30, as I stood up to take her to bed she of course wakes completely up and would not allow me to put her down. Think screaming tantrum. I tagged Justin in at this point. He snuggled her for a while. Then he brought her to OUR bed. Little girl rolled around and hogged the bed until 5:30 or 6 am when she finally went to sleep. I am not sure why she does this every once in a while. Sure wears me out. Since then naps are becoming spotty. She needs them but cries and cries instead of just going to sleep. I will persevere.

Saturday we enjoyed a family trip to Sterling Pool. It was HOT outside, the water felt amazing. Amelia is learning how to swim in deep water, we enjoyed a session just the two of us. Our little water kids just amaze me. I am glad Justin finally got to see all the kids swimming with their tricks and little talents.