29 November 2015

A Very Grateful Thanksgiving


















I missed blogging last week...mostly because nothing exceptional happened. I only took like 5 photos with my phone, gasp! Noteworthy mentions go to:

*Evelyn giggling non stop over her post lollipop blue tongue. She stuck it out at everyone in Safeway.
*Me agreeing to more mini sessions, including photographing the Rognon's in exchange for her taking our own. It was so cold! We ended up retaking the photos again on Sunday after church due to the sun setting before we could get decent photos taken.
*I asked the kids to get dressed for church. After I got myself dressed I checked on their progress. I found the kids dressed up as super heroes! Everett cracked me up with his naked legs sticking out of the turtle costume. Evelyn's superpower was going naked without getting arrested. Well, she did have princess shoes on.
*I emptied the prop closet in anticipation of my brother's coming to help me fill it with food storage buckets. I filled an entire corner of the basement with baskets, bowls, blankets, and such. It was a pretty big mess. I also separated out props I need to find new homes for.

Monday morning our new massive bunk bed set was delivered to our open garage. I had a newborn session going on so could not monitor the delivery. Har-har. Justin and the kids got all the boxes down to the basement and half of them opened. After several warnings about not playing with the Styrofoam the kids just HAD to play with it. They got Grandpa Lane worthy root knockers and had to clean up the flurry of white Styrofoam. I took the girls to get FHE milkshakes for a treat. Amelia likes to poke and pester Phillip (especially when he "deserves" it). I often find her passing him with an unnecessary poke, slap, or bump. I was at my wits end over a suitable punishment. We chatted in the van about the situation. She came up with her own consequence of serving Phillip when she makes him cry with her mean acts. We also came up with a code phrase WWJD (what would Jesus do?) to warn her before earning a consequence. I remember how it can be having annoying, Tasmanian devil brothers. Heck, half the time I feel like poking Phillip just because. I totally get it!

The kids had a lovely 3 days off from school! We cleaned up a bit on Wednesday while Grandma Debbie, Jared, Jeremy, and Yulz drove out here from SLC, UT. They made pretty good time, staying ahead of the snow storms. Our house erupted in loud whoops of joy when they arrived. It stayed pretty loud the next three days. The kids excitedly showed off our new bunk bed. Within a couple hours the boys were hard at work moving the new bunk bed, moving my craft center, relocating food storage buckets, and playing with the kids. Dog Vader got a lot of attention from the punkles. We are so glad Yulz came along, she is Jeremy's fiancee. I had pulled pork simmering all day for sandwiches. I forgot how amazing it is to have another pair of woman hands in the house. Toys magically picked themselves up, the sink stayed empty, food appeared, and the kids were entertained for days. After dinner Mom and I made pies and some food prep for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. We went to see Mocking Jay II at the theater with the punks. It took the movie 30 minutes to even start, grrrr, even the slideshow adverts came on again. Justin can finally sleep knowing the drama is over. The best part was driving home with sleet encrusted windows and road.

I met a family of 42 at a rented photo studio for a large photo session early Thanksgiving Day. It was organized chaos as we can all imagine. My honkey pig was a big hit. The rest of the day Mom and I spent in the kitchen baking and cooking. The girls looked darling in their matching outfits. We had horse duvers for lunch. Phillip made a pickle stegosaurus with apple feet. Evelyn finally ate her fill of peepoles (pickles). Justin carved up the turkey when it came out of the oven. He made a culinary masterpiece with the turkey plate. The rest of the menu was pretty standard: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, and rolls. For dessert we had burned pecan pie, and one perfect pumpkin. I ruined a pie shell the night before when I got distracted and dumped pie weights into the baking shell. Mom made another pie for Friday's leftover feast. After dinner Justin put on Elf as dictated by tradition. We enjoyed teasing Jeremy and Yulz over their young love. Yuck, too many kisses and such.

Friday morning Justin took the kids to play basketball at the gym while I snagged a nap. Mom worked on putting away the mess of props in the basement. By the time I came down she was half way done. I took Jeremy and Yulz out for an hour long engagement photo session in 26 degree weather. Brrrrrr. I hope they don't mind frosty photos for their spring wedding.

Our family left early Saturday morning. Everyone wore long faces most of the day. Poor Everett and Amelia wore the longest faces ever. Tears for hours. Everett never made it out of the crabby state he woke up in. We scored some smiles pulling out the Christmas decorations and tree. The kids played variation after variation of Christmas Eve since yesterday. The game entails stuffing empty boxes with toys and their stockings with stuff, pretending to sleep, while one kid plays Santa. It is the best game ever. Justin took the older kids out to drive the truck around the Quonset huts north of town. We took the kids out last moment to see the Parade of lights and watch the community tree light up with Santa's help. Everett threw a tantrum the entire time because no one would get him a full sized candy cane. He was very, very sad. Our family made it home safely before it got too dark.

We are so grateful for all our blessings this year. A couple weeks ago we made a Thankful tree with the kids. It was fun to see what they are grateful for. Phillip, the ever silly boy is thankful for pickles. We are grateful for pickles and much, much more. To have family over for the holiday was even more special. We miss being near our family, every year we are out here makes it harder to be far away. The few visits we get make our hearts full of joy. Still we are grateful for our place here in Sidney.

I am taking a family history class for Sunday School. This past week we were challenged to find pockets of family whose work is not done, instead of doing ascendancy work you work from a GGGG grandparent and down. I happened to find a promising line on Grandpa B's side. It is very addicting and fun.

15 November 2015

Veteran's Day Program













Another week chained to my computer. The end is in sight now! As of yesterday I only have 6 more mini sessions left to edit. I spent half of Monday burning 20 photo CDs and ordering mini session prints. The rest of the week I spent editing the mini sessions and taking a break for a day. Evelyn is on a nap strike...and quite honestly, a sleep strike at night as well. Justin and I are exhausted. I had him take a couple of turns when I reached my max. Not sure what is going on with little goober face. She still has a cough and is trying to teethe her eye teeth. She also made huge strides with her speech the past week or so. She learned how to say Phillip's name, ketchup, pickle, pumpkin, trick or treat, candy, spooky, leaf, and work; and other words we throw at her she will finally mimic us to a point. She cried for 90 minutes every day this week during nap time. I don't do well when my kids cry like that. Plus, she never settled down. She would be in a deep sleep then wake up as soon as I put her in bed. Little stinker.

We are pretty excited that Mom, Jeremy, Yulz, and Jared are coming for Thanksgiving. I plan on using the boy's muscles to help me move our food storage around. My energy levels are pretty much gone. I ordered a bunk bed yesterday and two more twin mattresses. The new bed has a full on bottom, twin on top, and a trundle bed! I am pretty excited to get the basement area switched around and organized since it was disrupted last month when the egress window was installed. For now, I will keep the kids together until school gets out then shake up the sleeping situations over the summer.

We had a terrible blizzard on Wednesday...no snow, just a blizzard of wind. It was a really cold, windy day. Everett was pretty upset the snow did not fall.

Thursday the Third Grade presented the Veteran's Day program they worked diligently on for a couple months. She was excited to pick out a Patriotic outfit, shoes, and hair. Justin walked her down to the High School at the appointed time. I came a bit later with the kids. The program started with two Veteran's uncovering a row of military uniforms set up in front of the stage. Each guy carefully unveiled the uniform and adjusted the cap and made sure the uniform looked sharp. It was quite moving! Amelia told me later that she had chills up her arms and cried during the unveiling. Each class paired with another class to sing 3-4 songs, Amelia's group went last. Everett was totally dancing to a funky song about uniting as a country put to 70s jive music. Amelia's class sang one of the best songs of the evening, American Tears. It was put to a slide show of Veteran's who served from the kid's families. Grandpa Lane's photo showed up 3 times, plus the photo of Amelia, Uncle John, and I was the only photo that showed a child in the grade with a Veteran. The boys were excited to see photos of Uncles John, Joe, and Jeff as well. Well played 3rd grade. I had to keep myself from smiling as Amelia relayed her feelings to us after the recital. She totally waved her hand to keep herself from crying. I took a video of her singing American Tears before the concert since she worked so hard learning that sing.

Justin turned the big 40 today. We celebrated yesterday with a trip to Cabela's, Mexican food for lunch, he enjoyed a long 2 hour motorcycle ride plus 25 more minutes ferrying the kids on rides. He is lucky I am not feeling well, otherwise he'd have an over the hill party. He would hate me for that! Today I am making his favorite brownies and Waikiki pork chops. The Primary performed their program today. Our kids did well delivering their memorized parts. Everett sang his little heart out! We could all hear him shout/sing the songs. Phillip is convinced the program was just for Justin's birthday! I found the kids throwing granola all over the kitchen floor after my shower this morning. They were feeding the bird dogs. I am not going to sing "Feed the Birds" again for a quite a while at night. Amelia copied a cheesy love poem off a card she found, she jazzed it up for Justin's birthday card. It is awesome.

08 November 2015

Slump Week










Monday and Thursday this week I finished up photographing the slue of newborns I had down on my books. Phew. This batch of babies were quite sensitive to touch and being positioned. That usually means extra time spent with an awake baby waiting, and waiting for the deep sleep to come. The first baby brought along his two red-haired siblings. Gosh! I loved the red hair. The kids were once again really patient as I worked through several days of culling and editing. I did finish all the mini sessions from two weekends ago! Yay. This week I will be burning a lot of CDs and submitting a large photo order.

Phillip, Evelyn, and Everett all caught my nasty cold. Evelyn and Phillip are the worst when it comes to getting sick. Evelyn does not sleep and Phillip wants to sleep in our bed. He is like a furnace, so makes me all hot and bothered. I am finally feeling more human after two weeks of sinus infection and cough. Phillip was up barfing gross stuff resulting from chest congestion. He had another poop accident at school. I was putting Evelyn (and myself) down for a nap so missed the call. Justin ended up cleaning Phillip up last week as well. Looks like he came down with a nasty case of digestional infection as well. He stayed home for a couple days this week. Looks like Evelyn is also teething her eye teeth again, the top left tooth finally cut through, only 3 more to go.

We tried again this week to feed the Elders. I made chicken enchiladas, our new Elder is gluten and lactose intolerant. All the sisters in the ward are in a tizzy thinking up new menu ideas excluding these ingredients. Thanks to Courtenay and the Internet I had some ideas up my sleeve.

Amelia memorized 12 Articles of Faith this week and passed them off. All on Wednesday evening. She is pretty amazing. We worked on memorizing the AofF for several months now but she rapidly remembered most of them and earned quite the reputation at Activity Day Girls. The girls are earning beads to make a cute snowflake bracelet as a reward. She is the only girl to earn all the beads in one night. She was very excited about her accomplishment.

A slot opened up for the Sunflower class at Everett's preschool. He can move up and be with kids who are 4 turning 5, instead of 3 turning 4. He was easily the tallest kid in his preschool class. I am relieved because he is not a morning person. The poor kid can now sleep in an extra amount of time each morning. Maybe we can deal better with his meltdowns. Looks like he will start Monday. Hooray!

Evelyn was not sure what to think about the snow that floated down from the sky on Friday morning. We spent some time outside trying to catch snow. She kept calling the snow: rain bubbles. Pretty cute. Everett was really, really sad at preschool on Friday. His teachers said he would cry at the silliest things (like the volume off on the computer, or his coat zipper not zipped up). He took a nice nap that afternoon.

Saturday Justin worked hard to clean up the garage, making space to park his motorcycle and blue car. I worked hard photographing 13 families throughout the day. It was so cold that morning, frost covered the ground. My winter boots made the 3 hours more bearable. We celebrated little Zane's first birthday at the Saddle Club. Kelly's family made delicious lasagna, garlic, bread, and salad. The kids had a great time playing ball with RC, one of Kelly's friends kicking around a yoga ball in a strange game of soccer. After lunch Kelly let the kids comb her mare then take turns riding her around the arena. Amelia and Ella got to experience trotting! Amelia was impressed with the bouncing. Justin drove halfway to Dalton to pick up Ella for an extended play date. I think the last time we had Ella over was over the summer. We sure love having her around. She loved attending to Evelyn. I arranged for two girls to come over before dinner and babysit all the kids. Justin and I spent an evening out on the town, eating Mexican food and watching Spectre, the new James Bond movie. Justin let out the grossest burp during the movie. We later saw Tommy Milner leave the theater, oops. We enjoyed some silly laughs at the expense of the terribly boring movie.

I've seen so many disturbing posts from active, strong members of the church opposing the church's stance to add children of Gay, married parents to be baptized until the child is 18. The policy update is not really a change since there are several other family situations where children are not allowed to choose between family and church until over the age of 18. It totally makes sense and supports the Proclamation on the Family. I see the addition of gay parents as a benefit for those children, they don't have to go against their family to choose religion. The church also clarified gay marriage as apostate behavior, and to be treated as such. Did we really think that God would not clarify that with the legalization of gay marriage? The polarization of the church continues.

01 November 2015

Trick or Treat















































Last Sunday at 4 pm I felt fine, right as rain. At 4:30 a theoretical train slammed into my head. I caught the fastest cold and cough in the world. Seriously...30 minutes. I spent the rest of the week battling a fierce head cold. The nettie pot and I were best friends. Pretty gross, but the blood, pus, and mucous coming out of my sinuses and lungs were not for the fair of heart. Sorry, no more gross descriptions. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep for a month of Sundays. Instead I had to Mom up and live in survival mode. It was not pretty. Justin came home Thursday evening to find me completely passed out on the couch. I vaguely remember Phillip choppily tracing my nose and eyes to put me to sleep. It worked. During my sleep of the dead Everett and Evelyn both found their way to the couch to help me nap. The iPad was a good friend this past week. Evelyn decided she loves to watch Curious George and Stuart Little. Amelia woke up with flu Wednesday night (guessing overdose of candy). She got to stay home from school both Thursday and Friday. Phillip and Amelia stayed home Friday because the Sidney football team went to state again this year. Once again my body decided I needed a nap at 7:50 am. The olders were arguing over which show to watch. Evelyn was sitting on my head with a  soggy diaper. I cried because I was done, done with this stupid cold. Somehow the air cleared up and everyone settled down long enough for me to nap deeply for 30 minutes. I cancelled the three sessions I had lined up for the week. Darn it...that means more work next week. Still I was able to edit 13 sessions plus my family Halloween photos. Not bad.

Monday morning I had the 24 week glucose test. I passed with flying colors, probably because I was not hungry and sick. Still, I'll take a score of 110 any day. The nurse drew lots of blood for the test and to type my blood for the RhoGAM shot. I totally forgot to come back in the day for my shot. I went in early the next day so the nurse could stab my bum with the shot. Everett was quite impressed I did not cry. He gave me sticker. YES. Everything is looking good! Baby girl is very active and practices her ninja kicks quite often. For FHE we carved pumpkins. I helped Phillip realize his design. He wanted a pumpkin with three eyes, a chimney rock nose, and spike teeth. Like most kids gutting the pumpkins was filled with exclamations of "gross" and "ewwwww". Evelyn wanted nothing to do with her pumpkin. Everett made a shape pumpkin with Justin's help. Amelia created a princess pumpkin.

We got to support the booster club Jitney dinner on Tuesday. They served spaghetti or chicken gravy over potatoes, on the side salad and yummy desserts. The ramp leading up to the auditorium always holds kid's fascination. After dinner the kids raced up and down the ramp. After the dinner the kids painted their pumpkins at home. This time Evelyn was quite keen on the activity. Phillip ended up painting the table cloth along with his pumpkin. He also painted the pumpkin he scored at a field trip to Fanny's Fruit Farm earlier that day.

Wednesday the kids got dressed up in their awesome costumes for the ward Trunk or Treat. Amelia was Miss Heromine Granger this year. I must say, her hair turned out awesome thanks to my skills with the crimping iron. She looked the part! Phillip wanted to be Jet Vac, a Skylander. He pretty much knows nothing about Skylanders other than his cousins think the game is amazing. Since he could not wear his mask, I painted his face. He was quite upset that his hair was showing and that I rudely painting his face. After 30 minutes at the church he let go of his grudge and enjoyed himself. Everett was stoked to be the green Dino Charge Power Ranger. His moves are pretty enviable. Evelyn was not keen on dressing up so I threw on a Princess dress and called it good. We had a great time at the church. I made chipotle chili for the chili cook-off. We invited our neighbor Kelly and her son Zane to enjoy the evening with us. Chili was nom-nom good. The primary set up 6-7 rooms with fun games for the kids to enjoy after dinner. Everett loved the monster bowling game. Amelia and Ella disappeared most of the night doing what 8 year olds do best. I heard her blasting a CTRmous spell! Can't get much better than that. Evelyn followed the candy. Where candy was, Evelyn was there as well. She quickly learned to say Trick or Treat and thank you, bye!

Thursday Amelia got a new bracket on her new incisor that grew in last month. Her poor mouth was quite tender all day. The next day she woke up to find her tooth was much longer than the night before. The bracket was touching her gums on Thursday, by Friday morning the bracket was not near her gums. She got a new flexible wire to replace the spring.

Friday morning Everett's preschool class invited parents over for a short concert. The kids sang three songs for us, all dressed up in their costumes. Everett sang loudly and danced away to the songs. He rocked it. We all giggled at his cool moves. They ended with a song about Fire fighters. Everett sprayed his teacher with imaginary water at the end. Hilarious! At 4 pm the kids put on costumes again and went to enjoy the trick-or-treat street downtown. Several business were open and handing out candy. The main square was blocked off for the other local businesses to gather and display cool trunks for the kids to treat at. Evelyn was a little overwhelmed by all the noise, Justin got some pretty cute snuggles. I loved watching each of our kids enjoy the event with their different strengths and talents. Amelia was totally psyched over the Harry Potter trunk.

Saturday morning the boys helped me clear out the dead plants from the garden areas. Phillip had the grand idea to turn my tomato cages into tomato blasters. Soon he and Everett were busy pinning tomatoes to the cages. Justin and Amelia attended Tess Hornbarger's baptism. I hear it was a great baptism! Once Justin got home he helped me haul all the dead stuff into his truck. He mowed the lawn a couple times over to mow the grass and collect the leaves. Justin went on a long motorcycle ride after lunch. The kids each got a short 10 minute ride once he got back. Once again the kids dressed up in their costumes to trick or treat. We treated the kids to a healthy meal of Sonic corn dogs on sale for .50 cents per. First we let the kids trick or treat at the rest home. Everett knew exactly what to do, he efficiently went down the line and collected his candy. Then the kids walked a square block to several houses near the rest home. Everett was dying to visit the eyeball house. We were confused about what he was talking about. The mystery solved itself when a house came into view with a monster hand holding an eyeball. It had a little spooky alley for the kids to walk through. It was really tame, but not to the kids. Goodness, Phillip had nightmares until well in the morning. He slept with us most of the night because he was so disturbed. He even went outside at 2:30 am to make sure it was still dark. He wanted to wait outside until morning came. I convinced him to come back in and warm me up in bed. Like Amelia he has a very vivid imagination. Everett was pretty freaked out over the spooky garage, but the lure of candy kept him brave. Amelia got to stop at Mrs Belieu's house to say hello. She and I went to walk a couple more house near our home. I can't remember a warmer Halloween night...ever. It was still 60 degrees when we headed home! We are used to snow and freezing temps.

I ordered the boys coordinating bow ties and suspenders just for the fun of it. Phillip was quite excited to wear the accessories for church today. Everett was not convinced he wanted to wear suspenders and a bow tie, that is until he saw how handsome Phillip looked. Soon both boys were quite animated to get to church on time and show everyone their new handsome look. I love how they egg each other on (at least for good reasons). Justin later found Phillip teaching Everett how to swallow Sudafed pills. Phillip successfully swallowed a pill the night before for his runny nose. Everett was not so sure about swallowing a pill while sitting on the toilet. How Phillip opened up those foil tabs is beyond me. They are hard to open.