24 January 2016

Manage the -ger
















I had a bit of relief this week when the baby dropped a bit, maybe just an inch. I was able to bend over, clean toys off the basement floor, walk to get the kids from school, etc. Then she crawled back up to her happy place on Friday. After she moved I was chiding myself for being a wuss, until she moved back. Wuss-dom is back on. Her position is driving me crazy. She is laying with her butt wedged against my right rib cage and her head is near my left hip bone, so diagonal. I am happy to report a lot of nice practice Braxton Hicks contractions. It wears me out but, so glad that particular muscle is working to get this baby out. No worries, only top to down contractions, nothing really useful. I see the Dr on Tuesday morning. Hoping for some good news, like keeping my induction date as the 11th.

Marcia, the saint, deep cleaned the living room this week. Everett and Evelyn helped her as often as they could escape my attempts to keep them occupied. She thinks the kids are pretty great. She even vacuumed Everett's stash of Skittles he hid in the couch. After she left he tried to replace the stash. I convinced him to use a baggie instead.

Wednesday I had a concerning conversation with Everett's preschool teachers. He is still acting immature when it comes to not getting what he wants right away. At home it is quite a bit worse. He resorts to kicking, punching, and yelling when results do not go his way. We are all scratching our heads thinking of ways to help him overcome his anger issues. I criticized my actions when it comes to dealing with his behavior, some of the time I just make the stars align so he will just stop his tantrum, short-term results. The other percentage of time he spends in his room trashing his bed. He is such a lovable kid that his outbursts are flummoxing. Courtenay referred me to a parenting book, about teaching kids self-management. We are also working on his tendencies to interrupt. I hope he will be ready for kindergarten this fall. If he needs another year that will be fine too. I think we start kids way to early anyhow. I used to have a teacher with the last name of Swanger. She used to sagely say that the only difference between a swan and anger is the -ger. We are working to help Everett manage the -ger. LOL

I pulled out a couple crafty items for the baby this week. I made a cute Valentine's shirt, a shirt with her name embroidered on it, and finished edging the blanket. I was delighted to get a call from Grandma Jean. She sent Amelia a Rumer Godden book, a forest friends book, and a quilt block she cut from a quilt her Grandma made her. Pretty special stuff!

Evelyn and Phillip just love to give the baby raspberries on my bare belly. It makes her kick! She is eating strange stuff for breakfast lately, ravioli, taquitos, sandwiches, and left overs. Makes me laugh...and feel nauseous. She insisted on eating dinner on the bench with her little chair on top. I tell ya, shades of Phillip.

We had some warmer weather this week, a balmy 45 degrees outside! The ice is finally starting to melt a bit. The kids enjoyed playing in the muddy slush left in the yard. We are grateful the East coast is keeping their snowfall to themselves. I hear places got 2-3 feet of dense snow.

Justin, with a little help from me, cleared out my computer corner, replaced the plastic table with his Ikea computer desk. It was soooooooo awesome to vacuum the space clear of dust and spider webs. We cleared away old cords left behind the table. It feels so much nicer! I am glad for the extra storage space. As I get time I can start moving files to the upgraded kid's computer and convert that to my working space. The kids had a great time playing baby animals on a plastic ark (the old table) lost at sea.

Justin texted me during the rush to get everyone dressed for church. He wanted to know if I would accept another new calling. I texted back a good gracious. He responded, does that mean yes or no. Silly man, you don't text me a calling, especially not during Armageddon to a pregnant lady still trying to wrap her head around the logistics of Sacrament meeting alone. Phew, I will have to think about that.

17 January 2016

26 Days Left










I got a new phone on Wednesday. It pretty much rocks...but in the process of playing with my phone I accidentally deleted the new photos I took this week.  Darn it. The best photo of the week was of Evelyn at church today! She waltzed into sacrament meeting wearing a cute blue dress, jean jacket, pig tails, and pink princess sunglasses. She totally owned her entrance today. Oh well. At least I did not lose much.

Tuesday I had a Dr appointment with Shaw. She is letting me still see her every other week until after my next appointment, at 37 weeks. I get the group B strep shot and then will see her for the next two weeks. Looks like I could be induced on the 11th of February if things are moving on their own down there. I promise to be ready. LOL. This pregnancy seemed to be more difficult than my other 4 full-term pregnancies. I am dead tired all time, like I could nap all day no problem at all. This baby is super high, which means thankfully my pelvic floor is not in any pain, on the contrary my ribs and sides ache with acute intensity all day long. It takes about 2 hours after I lay down for the night for the pain to diminish. I hurt most of the day from just sitting, standing, and being awake. I do feel better if my right arm is extended over my head! I look like a student with a question. My right hand decided to go numb all the time, especially while I sleep. It is so annoying to wake up with shooting pain in my hand and arm because it has low blood circulation. The entire bathroom situation is out of control, I have to pee all the time. I even look at a glass of water and "presto!" have to pee. The worst is the ongoing nausea and heart burn. It is bad. I try to take vinegar to suppress the acid in my stomach, each time I end up wrenching my guts out over the porcelain God. This kid better have curly hair after all this heart burn. LOL.

Justin is in the middle of the busy season, compiling the yearly reports and such. We all miss having him around for dinner. My mom suggested I hire someone to help deep clean my house. Two of the ladies I visit teach clean houses so one of them came on Tuesday and cleaned the main bathroom, vacuumed the Living Room, and spruced up the kitchen. She spent over two hours on the bathroom alone. Next week she will spend more time deep cleaning the kitchen. While she cleaned I put away all the week's laundry, and cleaned what I could. I enjoyed getting to know Marcia better as well. She is from Sao Paulo, Brazil, we had a fun hybrid conversation in Portuguese.

Wednesday I took all the kids with me to church. The YW and Activity Day Girls had a line dancing activity. The YW taught the girls 5 new line dances....with the girl's mothers present. Amelia and I had a super great time dancing up a storm. Evelyn often joined in to boogie down with us. The boys were entertained by the YM present for Scouts. Everett melted down right as we were leaving because he was having such a great time. I was pretty upset before we left because Amelia and Phillip would not get their homework completed. Both kids ended up taking their homework to church. Phillip told me a whopper of a lie, that he finished his homework. He spent the entire time playing. He earned a no electronics consequence for a week. We talked a bit this week that lying to your parents is the worst!

Thursday I got to drag the kids back to the church for a RS activity. The presidency had a gorgeous table set up for a Hot Chocolate bar. We heard from 5 ladies about areas we can make New Years resolutions in. The talks were very inspiring. Justin picked up the girls on his way home and stopped to get the boys from gymnastics on his way home. Amelia really likes her new piano teacher, Sister Hill. She does a great job teaching her scales and drilling her on muscle builders. Amelia loves to earn Reese's cups for the days she practices.

Friday morning the Sister Missionaries, Rose, and I (plus two kids) drove out to Peetz for Visiting Teaching. I introduced the sisters to Marcia. It seems that Marcia is receptive to the idea of coming back to church. The spirit was there even with two kids pretending to be dogs and spreading cracker crumbs on her couch. When we got to the Betony's I could feel something was wrong with Nora. Turns out her 93 year old mother is in the hospital and near death. Her feet were amputated earlier this week due to diabetes complications. Nora was beside herself as she was unable to go say goodbye to her mom. Their new van already needs a new CV joint. I ordered the part for them and had Jimmy go pick it up in Sterling. I hope she can make it before her mother passes on. I wish there was more we could do to support the family AND get them back to church.

Our weekend was pretty laid back. Justin and Amelia spent part of the morning removing ice from the sidewalks and driveway...only to get a couple inches of new snow this morning. LOL. The boys played Super Mega Power Rangers, dressed up in costumes to boot. Sister Hill threw me a baby shower! I enjoyed another ladies night out! Amelia came with me. She had a great time wrapping herself in tissue paper and ribbon. Course I lost the photos from the baby shower. Jen, Sheena, and Kelly came as well, they are my good non-member friends. Jen borrowed the truck twice this week, so we followed her back home and traded keys again. I came home with diapers, wipes, a bouncer, and a couple little outfits. Thanks ladies! That was very sweet.

Phillip and Justin worked on writing a talk for primary. Several teachers were impressed with Phillip's story! Here is his talk:

A couple of weeks ago, I decided all on my own to take my Book of Mormon to Kindergarten for Show and Tell. When it was mine turn I stood up and showed everyone the Book of Mormon. I told everybody in my class that the Book of Mormon is special. I then told them that Jesus wants everyone to read the Scriptures.


In 2 Nephi 32:3 it says:

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.


I told my class in Kindergarten that they should read the scriptures because they are the words of Christ. I know that when we read the Book of Mormon we are reading the words of Christ. I know that the Holy Ghost will help us understand and feast on the Scriptures.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

11 January 2016

Slowing Down





The kids are finally working themselves back into school. The first couple days were full of whines and rebellion. The first day back for Everett he noticed me at pick up time, he ran over yelling how worried he was about me. Melt my heart. He was thrilled to get his first birthday party invitation from a classmate.

It took me 4-5 days to get Christmas taken down and put away. Our living room was quite a disaster as the switch up took place. Evelyn would put decorations back on the tree faster than I could take them off. She was not a fan of packing up the pretty tree. I felt pretty terrible most of the week with nausea and extreme fatigue. I felt much better by Saturday.

Amelia came home with a stellar report card on Friday! She earned straight A's this quarter. No surprise there! The reading per minute per goal is 89 wpm, Amelia scored 220 wpm. One thing we've noticed is how talented she is at reading hard to pronounce words. She can whip out strange sounding words found in the BoM with considerable ease. Amelia was pretty tired this week, she had a hard time being nice to her brothers after school. Saturday was especially bad for her. Makes Justin and I feel sad when she acts like such a stinker.

Saturday we went to Oya for lunch. Our waiter gave each kid a Kinder Egg Surpresa. You should have seen the joy on the kid's faces! He scored some major points with these kids. Everett watches a YouTube channel showing Kinder Eggs being opened up. I've tried to order eggs but the dang treats are illegal in the USA because the toys are "choking hazards." Justin and I had quite a time thinking about starting a Kinder Egg smuggling operation. You know: pull up to the ole Oya Grill at midnight, "yo chollo, have any Kinder eggs?" Crack us up. The kids each found a small animal inside their eggs. After lunch we all went to Walmart for groceries. It was pure kid torture. We delight in torture.

I sent off my camera for maintenance, cleaning, and repair. It felt like a child sent away. You will have to endure crappy iPhone pics for the next couple weeks. I hope it comes back in mint condition in time for baby #5 to make her appearance.

Week Funnies:

*I somehow lost a package of tortillas. I found the package tucked in between the basement couch cushions. I asked Phillip why the tortillas were stuffed into the couch. He replied, "Mom, when I sit here to watch TV and get hungry, I just slip my hands between the cushions and sneak out a tortilla to snack on." Good to know!
*Phillip snuck in a bag of unshelled peanuts for our trip to Sterling pool on Monday. I had no idea until a couple days later! Imagine peanut shells littering the entire back seat and floor. Grrrr.
*Everett's new phrase can often be heard whenever his heart or feelings get hurt (which for him is often). He tells me, "Mom, you broke my heart and you broke my feelings because I did not get the cereal I wanted!" He tells me only a shrink ray gun can fix the problem, too bad our Walmart does not carry that type of gun.
*Everett is going through quite the tantrum phase right now. He is hitting, kicking, pushing, and being a stinker whenever his way is not honored or he gets upset. Phew, he ends up spending time on his bed until his happy buttons come back on. He really, really, really reminds me of an angry squirrel. That kid gets grumpy when tired.



06 January 2016

Happy New Years


















We enjoyed a lovely winter vacation at home this year. Phillip was convinced that school was starting on the 28th. I am glad he wanted to go back, his biggest complaint is getting up early to get ready. He likes to get up around 7:20 and veg in his PJs until noon. Monday I had my last newborn session of the year. I had an afternoon session scheduled as well but the client cancelled 20 minutes after the session was supposed to start. Chapped my hide that she cancelled after all it takes to set up and heat the basement. The kids were good sports and did not complain much. We went sledding once Evelyn woke up from her nap. I finally checked the consignment store for snow boots, the smallest size in stock was a pair of size eights. For the amount of time Evelyn lasts outside in the snow the large boot size worked just fine. The kids spent a good 2 hours sledding. Evelyn and I hung out in the warm van most of the time watching Frozen (me reading a book). Phillip biffed it several times on hunks of ice, he would race back after his face stopped burning.

Tuesday morning I dropped the kids off at Sister McMannis' home for a fun day of playing. I was so grateful for 7 hours of no kids. I went to my 33 week visit alone. Dr Shaw was in shock, me too. Dr Shaw about put me on bed rest because I've had so many contractions and pre-labor signs. She told me to take it easy. I went home and took a long, quiet nap. Justin and I enjoyed a quiet lunch at Della's for our anniversary the next day. I took another nap that afternoon and worked on editing some photos. Amy reported that the kids had pancakes for breakfast, played at the water table, made cookies, watched a TV show, went to McD for lunch, and spent the afternoon sliding down the stairs on cardboard boxes at Callie's home. What a blessing for me. Thank you.

Wednesday Justin and I celebrated 11 year of marriage. The kids made our bed and piled their favorite stuffed animals on it. The highlight was a the card the kids made for us. So cute. We all went to Walmart for food shopping. The party cart lives on. The trip stole all my energy so ended up taking a long nap that afternoon. The kids played Legos and Imaginex Power Rangers. Amelia really wanted a sleep mask, to help her stay asleep. She and I made 3 sleep masks before bedtime. The kids played with those masks incessantly for 3 days. They spent the next morning playing Marco Polo with the masks.

Justin took Thursday and Friday off from work. We took the kids swimming Thursday afternoon in Sterling. Evelyn wore her swimsuits for days wanting to go swimming. I think she likes swimming, just a guess. The kids had a blast swimming until 3 pm when the center closed for the New Year. Amelia can swim across the pool with little to no help. She is becoming more and more confident. It was nice to have Justin swimming with us this time, made it easier to relax. We spent the New Year going to bed early after so much fun swimming.

New Years Day Justin moved his computer desk from his man cave to the main basement area. We are in the middle of switching out computer desks, and upgrading the kid's tower to one I can use with Photoshop. My poor computer is pretty old so is not working very fast. The Sister missionaries came over for dinner. They gave a lovely message about looking forward with faith and positive outlook.

Saturday we all went to the last baptism of the year, Amelia's friends, Avery and Jack were both baptized! Right after Amelia went sledding with Ella. Those girls lasted 3 hours out on the slope riding down the hill. Justin took the boys a little while later for sledding. Amelia came home in tears because she was so hungry!

Amelia bore a sweet testimony on Sunday. She talked about the message the Sister missionaries gave a couple days before. Moments like that are the best ever. She is growing up way too fast. We love to watch her testimony grow as she gets older.

Monday was the last day of school vacation. The kids and I went swimming one more time, this time with the Hill family. Jackson entertained the boys most of the time. He asked me if the boys were always "like that" and if I felt tired after the day was over. Yes! I am tired. Those boys are my gym membership. We tried to set some family goals for FHE but all the kids were so tired all they did was complain and cry. We sent them to bed early.

Merry Christmas to ALL!





























Lazy Christmas vacations are the best ever! This Christmas was especially lazy since a blizzard dumped snow then drifted up to 6 feet. We stayed in our warm, Christmas cluttered house in PJs for two days without leaving. That was magical.

Monday the kids were troopers while I went Visiting Teaching to the Betony's and Petry families in Peetz. We left our home at 9:30 am and returned home at dinner. Don't worry, we did not VT the entire time. The kids filled the Betony house with lots of noise and love. I felt discouraged for the family when they told me their neighbors kept their misdelivered package with a tablet for their granddaughter. The neighbor begrudgingly returned it once they realized the tablet was useless without the activation codes emailed to Nora. Steams me when I hear how rude folks are towards this humble family. After visiting we kept driving to Sterling. The kids wanted to spend the money they got from Grandpa and Grandma Call, I wanted to buy clams for Christmas Eve chowder. We scored on both accounts! Amelia and Phillip chose Minecraft Legos, Everett a Rubix cube, and Evelyn chose a monkey. After shopping we spent a good two hours swimming with the pool to ourselves. I love that my kids are so comfortable around water. Evelyn insisted on ditching her floatie and walking around the shallow edge with just her eyes, nose, and mouth out of the water. For FHE we decorated gingerbread houses, pre-fab style. Amelia taught a lesson for us before we started on loving our family. My favorite example she gave is "You can show love for your sister...BOYS...by paying attention to her lesson!" If only, sweet girl.

Tuesday we stayed home most of the day while I finished editing the sessions from the previous week. We made a special trip out to the library to break up the doldrums. Amelia painted Evelyn's toenails and fingernails. It was so sweet. While the girls were sweetly serving each other the boys were chest bumping in the kitchen because they scored a sleeve of crackers per boy. Amelia was able to have Lily over to play all afternoon. The girls stayed in the basement bedroom playing Legos and house. Justin and I enjoyed a date night to have dinner at Mi Ranchito then off to see the new Star Wars movie. The movie was pretty awesome. Wednesday Amelia got to play with Katelyn at our home and Phillip went to play at Remington's home. He was so excited for a playdate! He packed up two backpacks with toys, stuffed animals, and a sippy cup that leaked water on the floor. I cleaned up the bathroom and kitchen with Everett's help. Justin took Phillip and Amelia to see the new Star Wars movie that evening. I stayed up until well after midnight both evenings wrapping gifts. I started bread dough for bread bowls, I let it raise then stuck it in the fridge to chill. I also made sugar cookie dough and let it chill in the fridge. Everett was a big help measuring out flour and other ingredients. He felt left out as the others went to the movie. We had a fun home date working on bread and cookies.

Christmas Eve day was pretty exciting. Justin stayed home, he took the kids out for a couple hours so I could finish wrapping gifts. I slapped tape on the last gift moments before the crowd got back home. Evelyn loves to ride in Justin's truck. In the afternoon the kids shaped and cut cookies for Santa while I shaped bread bowls. The dang dough rounds did not rise into bowls, rather flat disks. I slapped the dough back in the kitchen aid and stirred more flour into the dough. We ended up eating clam chowder well after 6:30 pm, unheard of in these parts. Amelia set the table nicely, made juice, and decorated with candles. We ate delicious clam chowder by candle light as we talked about our favorite memories of the year and the Christmas season. Everett was quite impressed to eat food by candle light, he had a hard time eating because he was so excited. Amelia was in charge of gathering outfits for our nativity play. Right after dinner the kids iced their cookies for Santa. Since Rudolph hates carrots Amelia had the great idea to make carrot shaped cookie for the reindeer. We ended up reading Luke 2 several times so each kid could try out different characters. First scene Amelia was Mary, Justin was Joseph, Vader the donkey, Evelyn an angel, Phillip the shepherd, unicorn was a sheep, and Everett was the star, I was a wiseman. The kids were so cute! Evelyn was quite pleased to wear her Elsa dress for the evening. Innej dropped off a bag of PJs and a treat for the kids around 7 pm. She rang the doorbell then jingled her bells around the house. It was chaos! Soon the kids were all dressed up in warm PJs drooling chocolate down the fronts. Eventually, the kids fell asleep. Phillip was wound up tighter than a spring.

Little feet started pattering around 7:20 am. I am always surprised at how late our kids sleep in. I remember waking up at 3-4 am every Christmas. The kids tore into their stockings. Everett was so excited he could barely speak clearly. He pulled out a bottle of Minion Vampire Body Wash, and asked what it was. We replied Body Wash...he echoed Wody Bash, I love Wody Bash. Throughout the day he would say wody bash much to our amusement. Once Evelyn was awake Justin lined up the kids while I manned the camera. Christmas chaos ensued. Soon the nice clean house was littered with tape, paper, box innards, and shouts. Evelyn's favorite gift was a fuzzy pig she slobbered on in Cabela's...we felt obligated to buy it and keep the slobber to ourselves. She loves that pig. Amelia got her Kindle Fire, Phillip a Bat Bot, Everett a huge Power Ranger mega zword. Justin got me a bosch mixer and a new jacket! Hallelujah. Justin scored a Millennial Falcon hover craft and Star Wars Legos (and a motorcycle). About 5 minutes into the present unwrapping, Evelyn removed her PJs and donned Elsa dress-up shoes. Her diaper was so soggy that her bum crack was hanging out. That girl and her lack of clothes always amuses us. Justin took a short nap under a layer of wrapping paper for a blanket. Justin cooked up some link sausage, eggs, and toasted pastry for breakfast. I was so tired I went to take a 20 minute nap...it turned into a 3 hour nap instead. We all got to FaceTime with Grandpa Lance in Saudi Arabia, Aunt Melissa, and everyone at Mom's home. That is the best part of Christmas. Justin roasted up a lovely prime rib for dinner. I added onion mashed potatoes, peas, and juice to the meal. We enjoyed a lovely day dressed in PJs while 12 inches of snow floated down. Evelyn pulled a Phillip move when she unrolled a roll of wrapping paper and then sprinkled the paper (and carpet) with blue kinetic sand. Took me an age and a half to carefully collect the sand before vacuuming the mess.

Overnight the wind kicked up and drifted all that snow from the previous day. Justin plowed through drifts up to 3 feet high! The kids survived a little while outside but the wind soon drove them back inside. Once again we spent a lovely, lazy day playing with Legos and new toys. I had two photo sessions but both cancelled (thank goodness) per weather. After naps Kelly came over with Zane to hang out for a bit. She helped clean up the living room mess. Bending over to pick up stuff is a real burden now.

Sunday attendance was quite low due to the holiday and weather. The kids and I rushed in a couple minutes late. The kids refused to get out of their PJs and into Sunday clothes. I end up feeling like a Nazi mom, flashing my whip and doling out root knockers. I forgot to change my sunglasses for my normal pair so rushed into the chapel with sunglasses on. Amelia was a dear and braved the cold to get my glasses from the van. One sweet sister pulled me aside, I almost cried because I thought she was going to ask me to do something. I was at my wits end. Instead she asked to take my kids for an entire day the next week so I could rest and have a day to myself. Started crying anyway. Best gift ever. After church I made Lion House orange rolls with the new mixer. Yummy.

**Favorite memories:
*doing the 25 Days of Christmas, we read the last devotional Christmas Day about Christ ascending into heaven.
*watching Alex Boye videos with the kids, esp Royals
*Evelyn insisting on wearing her Elsa dress and shoes for hours on end
*same kid learning how to say "where? no anywhere!" Her speech is taking off.
*Justin crashing the hover ship over and over in complete delight
*the kids playing power ranger dino charge for hours
*assembling MineCraft legos
*watching Amelia excited over the Mormon Channel and Scriptures on her tablet