25 October 2015

Parent-Teacher Conferences













What a tiring week for me. I had another three newborns come this week between Tuesday and Wednesday. Two boys and a girl. Everett and Evelyn spent the morning at our neighbors to play on Tuesday. Everett brought over our puzzle box to play with. Brenda was quite impressed with his gabbing skills. That kid can talk your ear off! Monday was a blessed respite, doing laundry, cleaning up, and reading books. Amelia loves to teach FHE lessons now. Phillip led the kids in his favorite game: Pickle in the head. The basic tenants of the game are to copy every move the leader makes, no matter how silly. It is a riot! Amelia helped me make no-bake cookies. Yum.

Phillip and I enjoyed a case of the giggles last week. It was my turn to sing the older kids to sleep. Justin and I take turns laying down in Phillip's bed to sing Primary songs until our gyro-boy falls asleep. Phillip was admiring his beloved bison. He asked me why the bison only had a furry head like a lion. I was stumped. good question. We wondered how the bison kept their hindquarters warm, he imagined the bison standing in a circle, bums in tooting on each other for warmth. We both developed a case of the giggles as we imagined the silly spectacle. A couple evenings later he asked where the blue and brown blanket came from. I explained that Sister Franken made it for him. Somehow we got on the topic of what he wore for his first Sunday at church. I described his dapper outfit. He said all the outfit needed was a red, honking nose so all the folks at church could honk his nose.

Tuesday evening I went to the church ALONE for Super Tuesday. The activity was postponed from Saturday to Tuesday due to a funeral at the church. I signed up to make a wooden "pumpkin patch." We sanded the posts, used a chisel to distress the posts, sanded again, painted, and embellished. The craft turned out really cute. I just need to seal the craft paint since the decoration is sitting on my porch.

Wednesday, I made split pea soup with hot scones to match the cold, rainy day. It was delicious. We got to have parent-teacher conferences with Mrs Plant and Ms Hubbard. Amelia earned 6 A's on her report card. Mrs Plant did not have much to say, other than Amelia is a hard worker and finds work to do after assignments are completed. Phillip is also doing well. He likes to cut corners whenever he can. His scissor skills are quite lazy...imagine that. Ms Hubbard would also like to see him participate more (like volunteering answers) in class. He is often in his own little world. The other day Phillip told me he had to sit in time out during centers, he told me he touched Remington. Ms Hubbard clarified that Phillip's definition of touching was actually wrestling in the hallway with his friend. Phillip is making headway with reading! He is pretty excited to recognize words in the books we read. Due to Parent-Teacher conferences the kids got out of school early on Wednesday and Thursday. It rained both days so we played inside. Amelia also told me she got to audition for a solo part in the Veteran's Day program. She said it was the best day ever! She reported that out of all the kids she sang the loudest, knew all the words, and sang in tune. Atta girl.

Friday the kids were also out of school. Justin took the day off work to spend some family time with us! We planned on a day at the zoo in Scottsbluff. The zoo was closed when we got there because the workers were decorating for a Halloween event. Darn it. Outside was quite windy and cold. Amelia wanted to go hiking so we drove towards the bluffs. We noticed a farm machinery museum on the way, Justin flipped a u-turn to investigate. The museum was pretty cool! A docent said that in a year the exhibits will all be cleaned up and ready, the museum was undergoing renovation. We still watched a fun video, played on the tractors, admired the exhibits that were on display, and played in a gardening box located in a foyer. The exhibits focused on innovations and themes in the last couple hundred years that affected farming on the prairie. Outside the kids thoroughly enjoyed tromping through a muddy corn maze. The maze was quite complex when compared to the maze at Fanny's Farm. Evelyn did not enjoy getting mud on her hands or legs. I ended up toting her most of the way. We explored more farming equipment stored outside. We had lunch at the Steel Grill, known for their steak nachos. Right up my alley.

Between Friday evening and Saturday morning/evening I had 17 mini sessions! I feel worn out after standing so much. My hips are killing me after spending Friday in the van and the rest of the time on my feet. In two weeks I have another 18 mini sessions. This coming week another 3 newborns and a 6 month old. I am glad my calendar for November and December is mostly empty. Justin drove to Cheyenne after lunch for Stake Conference priesthood meeting. His right tire started to shake around Bushnell. Soon his tire completely popped. His spare got him to the next gas station where he filled it with air. In Cheyenne he ended up getting three new tires at Discount Tires. Miraculously, the store had the exact three tires he needed. After his car was done he drove back home. We sped over to our chapel to listen to the Adult session. I parked myself in the nursery so the kids could play. My hips and back hurt so bad by the morning that Justin went to Stake Conference in Cheyenne alone. Looks like I am going back to the chiropractor for the second time in 5 days.

18 October 2015

Our Leaf Pile




























This week was exhausting! I photographed two newborns and a 6 month old girl. Monday and Tuesday. I worked hard to get all the photos processed and burned to CDs before Friday. My mini session start in a week and I don't want a huge overage before that. This coming week I have 3 more newborns. The week after another 3 newborns. I did not book anything for November for December besides the rest of my mini sessions. I have a feeling the break will be much needed.

We learned Saturday evening that Amelia's friend, Avery broke her leg (Tibia and Fibula) after crashing her scooter. She spent a couple days in the hospital trying to manage her pain and waiting to cast her leg. Poor kid. We heard that Avery said a prayer soon after her accident, the first person who stopped was the orthopedic surgeon's assistant here in Sidney. He insisted that Avery ride the ambulance, had it been up to Gina she would have helped Avery hobble home. It was a really bad break. Avery is now rolling along with a sweet set of wheels until she can manage her heavy cast. Amelia made Avery a cute card, collected her favorite books, and lent her our new Cinderella movie. We made a quick stop to visit Avery Monday after school. I think the 5 kids overwhelmed (me) and amused the hospital staff. We saw Nora in the hall, got to give her a quick hug! Everett learned how to play "Who has the button" so we all played that for FHE. The level of cheating was astounding. He he he.

We spent everyday after school at a different park enjoying the amazing autumn weather. The bursts of color around here are delightful. Poor Evelyn Hornbarger was on her toes trying to catch up with us as we explored. Kaylee enjoyed the changes in scenery. All the kids enjoyed being outside. Evelyn and Everett absolutely love the swings. I usually spend a good 20-30 minutes pushing those two!

Amelia was involved with spirit week at school. We always get a little crazy with hair day. She went all out with a crazy amount of clips in her hair and some crimping. Wednesday her grade was involved in a fitness day at the community center. She reported that the best part was making smoothies powered with a rider on a bike. Bike smoothies! Yum. Amelia also has a chance to try out for a solo singing American Tears for the Veteran's program in November. I emailed out photos to her teacher of all our family soldiers this week. Amelia is very excited to show off our 5 Veteran's. We have more than 5 but had issues finding photos.

Wednesday Everett had a short parent/teacher conference. Justin was unable to attend due to last minute meetings. He is doing very well, no issues there! The teachers are quite impressed with his scissor talents. All those mounds of paper he scissored over the years created a coordinated boy. I don't miss the piles of paper. He knows all of his ABCs, is learning to write his name, and can count to 20. Thanks to Team Umizoomi he also knows all his situational words. The teachers said he is a very loving and obedient boy. We sure love him too. Everett was impressed I came in to see him play at school. He requested we get some lunch at Safeway to celebrate. Funny kid. I love how he substitute close words for ones he can't remember. Reminds me of a certain other little girl (me). I had some issues finding the right words to use! We always laughed over the Tableknacker choir.

Friday evening Justin used the leaf blower to gather a smallish pile of leaves. Everett was so excited he got in Justin's way. He ran into the house and declared with tears in his eyes that he was not smart enough to get out of Justin's way. He turned around once he saw the pile of leaves to jump in! My heart melted as Amelia helped Evelyn jump into the leaves. We stayed outside until the sunlight melted away.

Evelyn learned how to make a pig noise. She greets me in the morning with a pig snort. It's a great way to start the day with a laugh. Dog Vader ran into his kennel one evening carrying a lost monkey binky he found. He has adopted the toy as his own. The kids think it is great fun to watch Vader defend his new toy. I think it is hilarious that he adopted a monkey binky of all things. He now sleeps with the dang toy. Amelia made us laugh with her addition to a Darth Vader poster Phillip scored in a yogurt box. She added, "He means you crave...bacon." Crack us up.

Saturday we drove to Cheyenne for some shopping. I spent a good 90 minutes in Once Upon a Child shopping for winter clothes and shoes. Mostly I got enough baby clothes for the new baby, hope it lasts a couple months. I will have to go back when they put out summer clothes for more items. I found some pants for the boys, some PJs, and a couple outfits for the girls. We spent an hour at Chik-Fil-A playing and eating lunch. I snagged a couple minutes in Kohls to get maternity shirts and other items that distracted my attention. We spent a fun hour at the Kid's Discovery Garden playing in the cold water. Evelyn drank the water...a lot of water. No wonder she has diarrhea today. Justin fit in a motorcycle ride before it got too dark.

I also found out a dear friend passed away this week. She was at home with her 3 year old twin girls when a blood clot stopped her heart. She was only 29 years old. The girls were not found with their mother for about 28-36 hours after she passed away. Moments like that just remind us of how fragile life is. Makes us stop and remember our blessings. I could not help but think of the time the girls were alone with their mom, I am sure Tabitha was there with the girls caring for them as best she could. I am sure it was a very spiritual experience for those girls. When the girls were finally discovered they showed no harm, dehydration, lack of nourishment, or emotional distress. One child had a diaper rash because she could not get her pull up off. My heart is with her family as they say goodbye this week.

15 October 2015

Egress Window, Pumpkin Patch














































Monday I had my 20 week Dr appointment, I forgot my appointment last Thursday. Darn. Baby sounds and looks good so far. I took home the glucose juice to take the gestational diabetes test at my 24 week appointment. Yum. We were ready for Jeppson construction to start digging for our egress window. Two hours late I heard from Sean that the guy who does the digging forgot to call the power/utility hotline, a city service that makes sure no utility lines or power lines are in the way of digging large holes. I guess the process takes 36 hours since a worker has to come out and flag our property.

The weather was quite dismal with slate gray skies until Thursday. We mostly stayed inside while I switched summer clothes for winter clothes in the kids closets. That is always a huge project since I am also sorting, paring down, making consignment and donate piles, and keeping the piles straight from Evelyn. She had a blast jumping in all my piles and trying on all sorts of clothing. Course by Friday the temperatures were back up to 80-85 degrees. I left the big tote in reach so I can pull a couple summer items if needed for the next month. While the house was under construction I tackled a couple other closets to organize. Mostly, I enjoyed being away from the computer and reading on the couch. Most of us caught a nasty stomach bug. Amelia threw up Sunday night to kick off that party. The rest of us did not throw up but felt really nauseous and had terrible digestion issues. Poor Evelyn had a bum rash worthy of a day in underwear and me blow drying her bum after every accident. Since I was feeling so poorly I actually fainted a couple times. Thus, couch time seemed like a good idea. I fed the Elder's spatazle, brats, sauerkraut, potatoes, and brown gravy. Looks like that favorite meal is moved to the yucky category for a couple years.

Sean showed up at 10 am on Wednesday (2 hours late) claiming he would finish the window that day. I had high hopes! An hour later a huge 5 foot deep, 4 foot wide hole was gaping on our north east side of the house. Soon after that the cement cutting started. As expected, it was a messy, dusty, noisy job. The guys kept disappearing and coming back. They soon told me that our foundation is riddled with cement and rebar. I am glad to know that our basement walls will withstand WWIII! Bad news: it took two days to just cut the window hole and four broken saw blades. The guys were shaking after the second day of cutting. Sean came back Friday afternoon  and popped in the window, installed the well, back filled the hole, and trimmed out the window all in less than a couple hours. The kids enjoyed exploring the large mound of dirt, and the deep hole.

Thursday evening the kids put on a costume show. Justin and I had a laugh at their creative costume pairings. Phillip's shield shoes and princess dress were a huge hit! The kids marched around to music and showed off cool dance moves. Phillip asked for Zerberts as a snack. I obliged and gave him many zerberts. Then I told him he really wanted Sherbert. He replied you mean, sher-zerberts? Yep. The kids snacked on sher-zerberts for bedtime treat. Phillip also earned a bucket filler award Thursday at school. He earned the prestigious award during music class. He has no idea why he earned the award...still...pretty good job! He proudly wears his chew-proof rubber bracelet as proof of his achievement. I tried to snag a photo of my 21 week belly. Evelyn photo bombed the pic with her naked bum. Cute, really cute.

Friday evening and Saturday morning Justin launched a full-scale war on the construction dust in the house. He manned the shop vac in the new bedroom. After a couple hours of vacuuming he invested in an air purifier to help filter out the dust. I purchased enough Swiffer dusters and handles for the kids and I to dust all surfaces. I mopped the ceiling, a new endeavor for me. Justin and Amelia wiped off the walls with wet rags. It is still pretty dusty in dark basement recesses, I guess those pockets will wait until further exploration. We have our work cut out playing musical bedrooms, sorting through stuff to cram Justin's hunting gear and my craft supplies into one room. We can do it...right?! All the kids worked hard dusting and cleaning.

We took the kids to Fanny's Fruit Farm to celebrate a day's hard work. We enjoyed a warm, sunny evening at Fanny's. Beth (who owns it) and her family put a lot of elbow grease into making the farm a little slice of heaven. We are very happy to support such a cute local get-away for the steeper price. Included in the entrance fee are several fun activities: hay bale maze, glitter tattoos, Mr McGregor's garden, goats/chickens/cats/sheep, grain bins to play in, large trike racing course, corn maze, tractor museum, food, snacks, and of course the pumpkin patch. Evelyn chased the chickens and cats! She loves animals. The kids loved jumping on the hay bales. Seemed like the kids spent the most time in the grain bins. The millet bin had two construction toys to the boys monopolized. The kids had millet, wheat, and corn hiding in all sorts of crazy places. Phillip's friend Eleanor helped us pick pumpkins. Her parents own the property so she runs wild owning the place! She went to preschool for two years with Phillip. We found lots of cool pumpkins! I snagged a fun orange one with green warts all over it. Everett chose a tiny pumpkin, worth of baby status. Amelia found the largest pumpkin with a really thick stem. Phillip had the hardest time finding his perfect pumpkin. We got to ride the hay wagon with our pumpkins back to our vehicle. The kids and I explored the corn maze while Justin and Evelyn paid for the pumpkins. We were surprised at the affordable pumpkin prices, much cheaper than even Walmart. We stayed until well after 7 pm, I loved the kids silhouettes against the darkening sky. Fun, fun day for all.

I was released as MiaMaid counselor and called to RS pianist. I felt so sad all day, wondering why I was released when things were running so smoothly. Guess it is more logistical since the entire YW presidency also have husbands that make up the entire Bishopric. The girls all gasped when the new counselors were called! I take that for a really good sign! Our YW are great young ladies. Evelyn happened to need a diaper change at the exact same time I was supposed to play the piano. There went my first day! LOL.