20 November 2016

Happy Birthday Justin





















What a good week! We started out the week with the super moon on Monday. It made it's appearance around 5:13 pm here in Sidney. It was HUGE! The kids and I were waiting for Mia while she was in piano lessons. We scooted over to the nearby soccer fields to watch it flit behind the clouds. Later I grabbed my camera and tried to get some cool captures but my longest lens was lacking. Still, we all enjoyed the experience. I even went out the next evening to watch the moon rise because the moon was still deluxe size. Evelyn was quite taken with the gigantic moon, all week she talked about the huge moon! We had a FHE lesson on manners while visiting family and a refresher on personal space and boundaries. Everett can be quite the Klingon, sometimes patting a lady's chest to get her attention. I failed miserably over our FHE treat of Justin's favorite brownies. The brownies were under baked, the marshmallows crispy, and the frosting and ganache too thick. Still over the next couple days the kids pecked at it until it was almost all eaten.

Tuesday Justin celebrated his 41st birthday. He slept in and stayed home from work. I got to take the boys to school that day. As I pulled away from the curb Phillip waved my attention then sent me an air heart, tracing a heart shape in the air and blowing it to me. It was the sweetest, most innocent gesture I've had in a long while. Melted my heart, still does a week later. Justin enjoyed a relaxing day at home. Well, relaxing until he tried to fill up the gas can, the cap went missing each time he tried to fill it up. I went grocery shopping with Evelyn while Josie napped. We snagged a prime rib hunk of meat for Justin to bake for his birthday meal. He rounded out the meal with Caesar salad and au jus. The kids helped me wrap his gifts then spent some time making him cards. Phillip asked me for help making his card to Justin. I nearly lost it as he told me what he wanted spelled out. Just read the card above. Crack me up! I got Justin a Star Wars advent calendar and the new Star Trek movie. We are so blessed to have him lead and guide our family. He is the best.

Everett's teacher told me a silly story about him after school. She noticed he did not come in from recess. The kids told her Everett was on the playground in his underwear. Say what?! Apparently he tripped and scraped his knee. I sent him to school wearing skinny jeans. He could not pull up his pant leg to inspect the damage. So he did the next best thing, pulled the pants down to see his knee. He had an audience waiting to also inspect the injured knee when Mrs Bouy found him. I am not sure our FHE lesson on private parts made an impression. However, later that evening the boys bathed with a large container lid to segregate the bathtub so their privates would stay private. Not sure what they gleaned from our lesson. Evelyn laughed at herself when she blew a huge "nooger" from her nose.

I scored a balance bike for Evelyn from a gal in town for $10! Yasss! Evelyn enjoyed riding it a little. More than riding it she loved fixing it with the tools I used to adjust the seat height. She was completely focused on fixing the bike for a good 30 minutes. My long lens was still on my camera, Josie had a cute outfit on, and the light was marvelous. Bam! I played with my camera. Man, I love doing that. The weather was quite balmy on Wednesday at a perfect 70 degrees. Amelia had a friend over after school. The girls made tiny jungle animals out of sculpey clay for a science project Amelia was working on.

So drifted horizontally from the sky on Thursday, it was a freezing 30 degrees outside. That is quite the temperature drop. The girls and I huddled inside most of the day with stew slowly cooking in the crock pot and a huge pile of clothes to sort into keep, consign, or donate. I volunteered for an hour at Amelia's school. I helped a couple kids work on their science projects. The kids studied ecosystems and were tasked to make a diorama and poster of the ecosystem and an example of a food chain. Josie came with me, she was a stinker and would not nap in time for me to leave her. I had a lady in our ward come over to play with Evelyn while I helped out. That night Amelia and I worked steadily on her project. It was due Monday but we are leaving for Utah that day so we had to have it done by Friday. I love watching Amelia come alive over fun project like this! Her imagination soars.

The next couple days were pretty darn cold, once the storm passed the sky cleared up and the temps dropped even more. Evelyn and I played in the snow while Josie napped in the morning. We made snow angels, scooped up snowballs (she called them eyeballs), and made foot prints. I ended up developing a double ear infection as a result of a long-term sinus infection. I was dizzy and grumpy all day. Jen unexpectedly came over for an hour or so to spend time with the kids. It came at a brilliant moment. Justin had just chewed out the kids for not listening and ignoring him. He can yell louder than a drill Sergeant if he wants. The kids were half-crying as we worked on evening chores. It was awesome. He started helping with evening dishes and kitchen clean up, we are 3 days into this new adventure. I must say, I love it! With the extra time I was able to wipe off walls and scrape junk up off the floors instead of just staying abreast of the work. I am so grateful for his help with organizing the ruffians and making them work. Justin and I snuck out once Jen took the reins over. We did some shopping at Cabela's for duffel bags, winter coats for the boys, and a pair of boots for Everett. Justin goaded me into trying on winter boots for myself. I tried on a pair that felt like wearing clouds on my feet. Sheesh, spoiled rotten! I adore my new boots.

Saturday I worked on laundry for the second time in a week in preparation for packing up for Utah. The kids remembered the marble run this week. Instead of making marble runs the boys made several guns over the expanse of a few days. They were highly entertained as they made and remade the pieces into cooler and radder weapons of war. I sent myself to the walk-in clinic for another dose of antibiotics for my ears and sinuses. I feel much better even a day later. After the kids went to bed I went to see Fantastic Beasts, a Harry Potter spin-off story. It was pretty fantastic. No pun intended.

13 November 2016

Unexpected School Vacation

























The varsity volleyball team won to the state level last Saturday night, so.....school was cancelled Thursday and Friday while the girls traveled to compete. Hey, I'm not complaining over unexpected days home with all my kiddos. We enjoyed our time together.

Mr Zane turned two last week. Kelly invited us over to celebrate with cake and a little party. My kids raided her yard and played hard and long in her backyard. She has quite the fun yard with lots of nooks and crannies to play hide and seek. Plus the chips, dip, and salsa captivated the kids. Zane was napping when we arrived, he was a bit disoriented to find so many hyper kids racing around his toys. He soon joined in and had a blast. Evelyn managed to find a marker so colored her face and Everett's church shirt. The marker was not washable so the shirt is ruined. Grrrrr, this is the 6th shirt she's ruined lately. Josie was delighted to stand up by the fence and chair as her supports. She quite enjoyed rides around the yard in a push-able car. We miss having good neighbors behind us.

Monday at FHE Amelia taught our lesson. She teaches short, lively lessons that her siblings enjoy. We might have her take over as the family teacher. She is prepping for her Christmas piano concert. We love to hear all her practicing! She knows the songs so well she races through them way too fast.

Daylight saving was not as bad as I expected. I forgot that falling back is easier than leaping forward. The kids are waking up at 6:30 or earlier for the time being. Everett woke up at 4:30 Tuesday morning. He made a nest on our floor and played with the toys I have for Josie. We kept waking up to the sounds of a monkey hooting. I convinced him to turn off the monkey toy and try falling asleep. All the kids are pretty darn crabby today. I think they had too much fun and not enough sleep.

Tuesday was election day! Justin and I teamed up at lunchtime to vote at the fairgrounds. We had classic bubble sheets to vote on. I voted for Evan McMullin, could not stand to vote for either Republican or Democratic choices. It was quite the anguished process as I chose and voted. All day we heard polling numbers and the crass opinions of the press. To our utter astonishment Mr Trump won the electoral vote! Hillary Clinton barely won the popular vote. It seems the public was fleeced by the press as far as Mr Trump. I am still unsure about his ability to lead our country, still I feel better to have him over a Clinton in office. As the days stretch past the election results more and more folks are going crazy. Protests, mud-slinging, complaining, students not going to class, and general cruelty abound. I found it funny that the Times had already published the front cover with Hillary as Madame President. She lost. I feel somewhat exultant that the press could not predict what the average American was feeling. They were so wrapped up in themselves that the election was grossly misjudged. I've never felt like NOT voting, I seriously debated not voting, but the sacrifices of our predecessors changed my mind. After voting Justin, the girls, and I enjoyed a lovely salad at Della's cafe. Jen watched all the kids while Justin and I watched Dr Strange at 7 pm. That is a rare occurrence, usually we go at 9 if at all. Course the one night we go the projector quit working, we waited it out for 35 minutes. It finally started, Jen had something to do at 9 pm, I was anxious she would miss her appointment. We came home to find Jen snoring in Josie's room with Josie snuggled in her arms. We totally loved the movie. Next time we need to watch the post movie teasers.

We had a park day on Wednesday. The girls and I spent a couple hours at the park with a picnic and friends during the afternoon. Evelyn fell asleep on my lap right around the time she as supposed to go to ballet class. She woke up so cranky I knew going to ballet was not going to work. I tried anyhow, dressed her up and went to ballet. Yep, she completely refused to stay at dance. We decided to play at the park with all the kids until the sun faded to dark. Justin brought home a roast chicken for dinner since I was too busy playing to cook. Evelyn looked pretty silly in her tutu and leotard. I found a sweater and hat in the van to wear once it got too cool outside. Josie gnawed down a full bowl of mac n'cheese for dinner!

The kids have outgrown their shoes. Finding decent second hand shoes for their age range is not so easy. We drove to Sterling for shoes, Mexican food, and swimming. Everett dressed himself with his pants on inside out, I pointed out that fact, and he nonchalantly said: "Mom, it's no problem, I can get two days out of these pants because tomorrow I can wear them the right way." He wore the pants as is for the day, flapping pockets and all. The kids love Mexican food, Amelia pounded 3 tacos, a serving of rice, and a serving of beans. We quietly dined at Santiago's for lunch. Quiet may be a misnomer. I vividly remember my Dad lecturing us before we stayed at Uncle Fred's home: flush the toilet, no whining, don't ask for food until offered, etc. I find myself doing the same thing. Problem is my kids do exactly what we did: disregard the rules of public behavior. We stood outside the shoe store. I asked the kids not to yell, shout, run, or be a general nuisance. I guess playing hide 'n seek was not part of my lecture therefore, admissible. Sheesh, so embarrassing. I was grateful the store was empty of other shoppers. Phillip was timid to try on shoes, he hated the cool shoes (like vans or converse) but loved the cheap shoes with characters. We compromised and found running shoes and a pair of character shoes. All the kids walked out with a new pair of kicks. Evelyn was pleased with pink "Minnie Mouse" shoes that sparkled and twinkled. The pool opened at 3:30 for open swimming. We stayed until open swim closed at 5 pm. Josie loved the water! She made her duck noises until she got too cold. Evelyn continued her daredevil streak in the water, refusing a floating device. She discovered jumping into the water was much more fun and wading until her feet floated off the floor. Amelia passed the deep water test by swimming unaided from side to side in the deep end. After the test she could jump off the diving board! No hesitation for that girl! So proud of her bravery. It was dark and cold on our trip home, nice to arrive home with the lights on and Justin waiting there.

Friday morning we drove out to my friend's home past Gurley to play with their kittens. Halfway through the drive I glanced back to check my rear view. I was startled to find Everett staring at me with a vacant look and a strange sticker covering his mouth. I am quite enamored with country living right now. I love the appeal of sending kids out to play without the normal worries of living in a city. Too bad we could not sell our home at this stage, too much uncertainty. Ryan brought out their kid jeep for the kids to play with. Evelyn was cackling along as she took her turn to drive. We had lunch at a new place for us, a fast food chain called Runza. They specialize in cabbage burgers, a Nebraskan delicacy. The boys were impressed with the small kid burgers and twist cones that came with their meals. Justin was gone all day until 8 pm for business down in Denver. I took the kids to see "Trolls" by myself, well, I hired Alia to watch Josie until Justin got back. Evelyn lasted much longer this time, maybe she was tired. Everett was freaked out by the bad trolls so sat on my lap jittering. Evelyn started a dance party in the aisle during the last song and credit roll. She loved how her shoes light up while she danced. Josie was not in love with idea of staying with Alia. I hear she cried the entire hour she was away from the parental figures.

Saturday we went back to Sterling and repeated our Thursday. I discovered the shoe store sent me home with two left shoes in different sizes for Amelia. Grrrrrr. I thought they checked such things before sending folks home with shoes. We went swimming again this time with Justin. Justin amused the kids with back rides and bopping the kids with soft balls on their noggins. Evelyn loved having Justin around to show off her moves. Amelia jumped off the diving board again and learnt how to dive into the deep end from the side of the pool.

This morning the kids noticed Evelyn eating her customary breakfast of chicken noodle soup from a can. Amelia and Everett wanted to try a "strange breakfast" so ate leftover spaghetti for breakfast. Sunday mornings seem pretty crazy around these parts. Just as I reversed out of the garage Everett shouted that he got the wrong shoes. He grabbed two right shoes. We were almost late, stopping to locate the right shoes made us a bit late. Evelyn had a tantrum because I would not allow her to wear makeup. She insisted on wearing lip-tick. She often requests lip-tick with cute kissing gestures and lip puckering.

09 November 2016

Post Halloween Disorder

















Phillip lost another tooth, the event occurred after dinner on Sunday. He was a total chicken but the tooth was literally barely attached. He finally let me fit floss around it and remove the tooth. It was totally painless and bloodless as well. The tooth fairy hid a dollar under his blanket near the foot of his bed. She is sneaky.

Monday was a bit stressful. I battled the weekly laundry pile. It likes to fight back but don't worry I slam it down every week. I filled up the newly delivered Jump-O -Lene for Evelyn to enjoy while I worked. I got it as a smaller alternative to the huge bounce house. She was in heaven. I think she jumped off and on all day long. By the time the kids came home from school I was ready with costumes for the older kids and Evelyn already dressed up and ready to go. Phillip walked into the door after school with a spider hat on. Evelyn laughed so hard she fell over! Guess the spider hat touched her funny bones. Phillip was late getting home from school because he HAD to walk his two (girl) friends home from the bus. The girls are scared to walk alone so Phillip escorts them with his big muscles and powerful farts (his words not mine). He is a sweet, attentive boy, albeit smelly at times. My yeller was exhausted by the time (4:15) we piled into the van for the city trunk or treat. The thermometer said it was 70 outside, but with the wind and shade we got quite chilled. Poor Evelyn was especially cold. She turned blue like her dress. The kids met quite a few of their classmates and friends at the event. I loved seeing all the folks who keep our city going handing out candy and dressed up to entertain the kids. The police, the firefighters, the librarians, the local shop owners, and city leadership. Something magical about events that bring our city together. The kids scored hot chocolate and cups, gloves, apple balls, toys, and of course candy. Evelyn was not too sure about approaching strangers, she only did it if the person gave her candy. She loves candy. We rushed to the van at 4:55 to run Amelia to piano lessons. While she was in lessons I ran back home to get warmer clothing and coats for the evening trick or treating. The boys struggled into footed PJs then costumes. Evelyn wanted to wear her fleece cupcake costume this time so she got to wear that. Justin met us at home a few minutes before we left to pick up Mia. We grabbed $.50 corn dogs for dinner at Sonic as a post-report card treat. After dinner we let the kids visit the rest home, we love making rounds there to bring a measure of joy to the older folks of our community. Josie charmed the folks with her fox costume and love for standing up tall on Justin's hand. Amelia's hip was hurting already at this point. We let the kids trick or treat down a couple streets. I loved watching Amelia escort Evelyn by the hand up steps and to front doors. She loves her sister (sometimes). At times it was difficult to keep all the kids accounted for. We managed! Everett and Amelia went through the spooky garage with Justin. Phillip refused with all his might to even step foot on the driveway. He was spooked out for a week after watching Scooby Doo. On our drive home Justin stopped so Amelia could visit Mrs Belieu and Mrs Roach. She was toast by the time we got home. After quick baths, hot packs, pain relief, and bed the night came to a swift close.

I made a quick trip to Scottsbluff early on Tuesday. This might have been a tactical error on my part. The drive was fine but the shopping trip at Target with a cranky Evelyn was terrible. She refused to sit in the cart. She can escape from seat belts and climb out of carts so there is no holding her back. Little stinker opened up several tubes of lipstick, piled stuff in the cart, and screamed when I restrained her. She removed her shoes and hid them in a clothes carousel. I found them, she then threw the shoes impressively far and almost hit a lady. Took me 10 minutes to locate her shoes. I went Target shopping to get a cute outfit for myself since we had family photos taken a couple days later. Target actually had affordable clothes in the correct color palette I had to work with. After the shoes both girls filled their diapers at different times. When I finally arrived flustered and flushed to check out the store seemed to sigh in relief. We had a picnic lunch at the park, Evelyn ran in circles for an hour. The kids were suffering from post-Halloween disorder after school. The whining and fighting. Dang. The boys asked to try out the Jump-O-Lene, I told them they could only use it one at a time. Sounded like the kids had a blast playing with the jumper toy, after an hour or more they came upstairs. Evelyn soon came crying upstairs asking for her jumper to get more air. Little stinker boys took a pen and stabbed holes in it then scissors to cut out the balls inside the toy. Together they shredded they 24 hour old toy. I was furious. Furious. Phillip had homework on Halloween, we did not get that done. Right after dinner Phillip had to complete 4 pages of homework, the customary 2 per day is too much for him. Justin called to say he was staying late at work. Josie was super clingy and would not let me put her down. Evelyn was a naked terror wreaking havoc on the house while I helped Phillip with his homework. He finally finished. I rushed the boys to the bathtub to scrub off their sticky faces and hands. Evelyn joined them. Next thing I see is water, water splashed here and there. Water half an inch deep on the floor, the boys and Evelyn creating a water vortex. I am quite proud I kept my cool. The boys sensed my pending explosion and quickly promised to clean up. They emptied the bathroom and wiped the entire room down. I helped them get the stuff back to proper places after they wiped up. I was done, done with the post-Halloween disorder well before bedtime. I went to bed dreaming of punishments for the boys.

Thankfully, the rest of the week was not as terrible as Tuesday. I should have made tacos, for Taco Tuesday. Maybe that would have placated the gods of Terrible Tuesday. Evelyn pushed her stroller with Ellie strapped in the rest of the week to get Everett from school. She insisted on wearing her tutu ballet and slippers all day on Wednesday.

Thursday morning Josie had her 9 month well-baby visit. She weighed 14 lbs 10 oz and measured 26.5 inches long. Dr Shaw prescribed more zantac and prilosec for her, her spitting up is still a problem. She is tiny! We are adding butter to her food now, trying to get her some more weight on those skinny arms and legs. She can roll over now, actually enjoys tummy time for more than a moment! She might actually crawl! Soon after rolling over she moves herself in a circle to get toys. Atta girl. She also learned to chew soft foods, I added soft finger foods to her diet this past week. Right after the Dr the girls and I went food shopping.

I got to hang out with Sheena, her girls, and new baby boy Friday morning. Evelyn was in farm heaven: kittens, dogs, and friends to play with. She spent most of the 3 hours we were there outside with the cats. I took photos of new baby Noah. He is quite long so posing him was a challenge! We got home just in time to pick up Everett from school. I was beat down tired!

Saturday was our RS Super Saturday. Josie and I went around 11:30 am to work on my crafts and enjoy lunch. I only signed up for two easy crafts! Lunch consisted of a delicious salad made by the salad maker Mrs Elaine Peters. She makes the best salads ever. Right after lunch I left and headed home. I rushed around getting the kids and myself ready for family photos. Justin was still in bed napping 5 minutes before we were due to leave. I was a bit steamed, gah. He said last time I confirmed a time it was set for 4:30 and not 3:30. I moved it to accommodate another activity we had going on at 5 pm. My photog friend Candice snapped our photos for us. I was not impressed that she did not take control and try to capture my kids attention. I ended up looking crazy as I tried to manage the kids and look pretty. After reviewing the photos a few days later over 80% of the photos were out of focus. Gadzooks! Needless to say I felt trampled on and exhausted. Well, at least the photos are real us and real life. I hope to cobble something together that will work for a Christmas Card. The Bishopric hosted a dinner for the ward counsel at 5. Josie was still quite crabby so she came along for the evening. The rest of the kids stayed at home with a sitter. Josie chewed up a dinner roll, kept her entertained and delighted. Dinner was over the top delicious, smoked pork loin, dutch oven potatoes, veggies, and rolls.