We had the chance to dine with the Sister missionaries again, the slot for Sunday was not filled up. Good thing I had some (fresher) food in the fridge. I made hamburgers that Justin grilled up outside. Pretty tasty! We are so sad the Sisters are coming to the end of their stay in Sidney. We so love it when Sisters are assigned to our town. We saw the Sisters a little while later at the church parking lot to view the city fireworks. I popped some corn in coconut oil (the only way to go), packed a cooler with expensiver soda, and some candy for the kids. Justin loaded the back of his truck with camp chairs, blankets, the kid's new hearing protection ear muffs, and the treats. The butter beer I found at Safeway tasted divine! It was like cream soda on steroids with a dash of butterscotch. Evelyn was terrified of all the loud blasts, she cowered on Justin's lap with her ear protectors on and eyes covered. She finally peeked a few times at the sparkling fireworks. Sidney experiences quite the fireworks phenomenon 10 days before the 4th. It is very hard to convince the kids to sleep with all the bangs, flashes, whizzes, and whirls. Evelyn is still talking a big talk about all the fireworks. About twice a day since the 4th she comes to whisper in my ear about fireworks or thunder. It's quite the love/hate relationship between Evelyn and loud bangs. I've never seen her get out of the pool faster than when she can hear thunder. It makes me giggle a bit to watch her high tail it out of the pool.
Monday Justin started Independence day by spraying out his truck bed. Kids+popcorn+sugar=mess. I tried to clean up a bit, he he he he, yeah right. Truth be told, I took cute photos of Josie for her 5 month photos. Phillip made my heart race when he ran inside to tell me he was conducting science experiments. That kid and science are not the best mix. Turns out his experiment was innocuous, just a glass cup with water, a biscuit cutter wrapped in foil, a turkey baster, and a butter knife. He was making a trap for the ants. Crack me up! We all went swimming together at the new pool. Justin left first with the kids while I let Josie nap and worked on dinner prep. I made the base for a fruit pizza and started potato salad. Ella came to swim with us as well. We swam until the pool closed due to lightening and thunder. Justin took the middle three home while Amelia, Ella, Josie, and I waited for 30 minutes. The pool did reopen and the girls enjoyed swimming with 80% of the pool cleared out. The boys cleaned Justin's motorcycle while the BBQ coals got ready for their important grilling duties. Justin grilled up some yummy BBQ chicken to go with salad and potato salad. The kids settled on S'mores for treat instead of fruit pizza. Phillip watched with huge eyes while Justin assembled two S'mores for him. It reminded me of a ninja master showing his student the ways of the ninja. Evelyn tried to toast a marshmallow but the increasing booms and pops sent her into a crying fit. She spent the evening inside cowering. The other kids got to light sparklers and set off the 5 fireworks we purchased this year. Everett is so funny! He turned his sparklers into weapons of some sort. Some rain sprinkled down right as the sunset. A guy from Justin's high school years dropped by of a sudden...what what?! Seriously! This dude went to HS with Justin in 29 Palms way back in the day. He is in Nebraska off and on supervising plant operations based in Kimball. Small world. He had a grudge that Justin stole his Prom date, seems unlikely, but yes the story is true. Our neighbor probably spent up towards $1000 on fireworks. They set off fireworks each night for a week just as the sun goes down. Our other neighbor set off mortar shell fireworks. Who needs city fireworks when all your neighbors provide a decent show?! Everett was quite excited to help Adam choose which mortars to set off, he might be our pyromaniac. Once the last shell was blasted off, Everett ran off saying, "well, that's it?" It was a good day to be an American...as long as you don't think too hard about the crappy Presidential Election, the state of our government, and the acts of terror Americans are conducting on their own soil. Yeah, it's good to be "free."
Tuesday all the kids melted into pools of whining mush. It was pathetic. Amelia lost all technology for the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday. That kid can throw a mean tantrum. She needs to hibernate until after puberty. I was her primary source of entertainment, mainly child labor and snuggles. We broke out all the board games and spent the afternoon fighting over Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and Sleeping Queens. I went to bed with a terrible migraine. That night as I made my way to bed, this little rascal scared the living daylights out of me. He was standing stock still, eyes wide, not saying a word. He claimed he was cold. I put socks on him and tucked him in bed. I went about my bedtime routine, slipped out of the bathroom for a moment to find a cup. Came back and once again a scene out of the Reckoning. Everett standing stock still in the bathroom. I put long pants on him and put him to bed again. Finally made it to bed, closed my eyes only to feel the creepy sensation of someone watching me. Yet again, Everett creeped me out. I had strange dreams all night. The kids enjoyed washing the picture window for fun. They played with the hose, spray bottles, and a plastic tub for quite some time.
Wednesday Josie turned 5 months old. She celebrated by smiling, blowing raspberries, eating, napping, and getting carried around. The weather was off an on Thunderstorms each afternoon. My head was killing me. I arranged for Amelia and Everett to spend the afternoon on play dates and away from the house. They/I needed a kid break. Phillip and I spent a quiet afternoon while the girls napped. Everett got to play with Zachary, he had a splendid time. Amelia played with Katelyn. Evelyn upped her potty training game by peeing in the pot...literally. She took one of my pots and peed in it! Gross me out. We stopped by Jen's home after running errands. She let the kids play in her pool dressed in undies. Course, Evelyn chose to skinny dip! The water was freezing cold! Jen joked that we came to her house dressed and left naked. Yikes.
I had two outdoor newborn baby sessions this week. Thursday's session was scheduled for 10 am, it was too windy so we rescheduled for 3 pm, a tornado touched down in Lorenzo (10 miles south) instead, we finally made it work at 6:30 in the field for sibling and newborn photos. I took the kids to the pool with Alia to watch them at 2:30. The kids got wet for a moment before the pool cleared out. I had to pick them up because the manager actually closed the pool because of the tornado. We sullenly went home and watched the wind rip raindrops out of the sky. We got to save Lily from the pool while her mom was busy in a meeting. The kids cowered in the basement watching a Mermaid movie while the system tore through with tremendous claps of thunder. I enjoyed the storm though the front picture window.
Friday we left home at 8:30 am for the second newborn session. The baby is part of a cowboy/ranching family in Lodgepole. Kelly's dad farms wheat, corn, and raises cows. Kelly just had her 4th boy, the oldest is 8! Between the two of us we had 9 kids running around. I had Kelly's husband saddle up 4 horses for family photos. The photos turned out quite idyllic! My kids got to ride the horses while I took photos of just the baby. I wish we lived on a farm...sometimes...it was so cool to watch the boys Phillip and Everett's ages handle the horses and saddles like a champ. The kids were playing in a row of hay bales when Phillip and Kade stumbled on a hornet's nest. Kade got stung on the forehead and Phillip got 2 stings on his upper cheek and another on his ear. I rescued the moment by busting out the sting wipes I got 7 years ago when Amelia got a bumblee sting. Then I whipped out a tube of Benedryl to top off the moment. Phillip was a snotty, blubbering mess. He manned up eventually and decided the bites stopped hurting. Since we were 7 miles for Chappell we continued East to spend the rest of the day there. We had lunch at a bowling alley, eating American food (a gross salad for me) and rolling bowling balls down the alley. The kids are absolutely terrible bowlers, almost better than me. Everett scored the most pins out of us all. Bowling is not a strong suit. At 1 pm we drove to the Chappell pool, an era iconic pool, straight out of the 60s. The pool had 3 diving boards, a caged kiddie pool (yes!), and two water slides. The water slides would be against every OSHA regulation in the government book. The slide started out with 11 steep metal steps, a tiny platform, and a cliff drop off the platform. Everett was terrified to go down. Two lifeguards "helped" him go down the first time. After that he was hooked. Everett went down that terrifying slide over 100 times in the next 3 hours. Amelia climbed up the slide a record number of times as well. She did more therapy climbing up those steep steps than a month of PT with Carl. A couple teenagers watched Josie for 30 minutes while I played Marco Polo with the kids and gave surfboard rides. Evelyn found a ladybug, she tucked her new pet into her swimsuit for the rest of the day. I found it's empty shell at bedtime. Another storm rolled though and closed the pool at 4:30. We were so tired once we got home everyone fell apart. Too much fun!
Evelyn slept until 10:30 the next morning. Justin enjoyed his cheat day with a box of delicious doughnuts. We went swimming again. Hey, it's easy, all the kids can enjoy it, we bought a summer pass, and it was bloody hot. The kids each earned $1.25 cleaning up the living room. They spent their money on treats at the snack bar. After 30 minutes an ominous system floated overhead, this time the weather provided some shade. A while later another storm rolled overhead with a couple lightening strikes. We left the pool after a fun couple hours before the pool closed per weather. I feel so bad for all the farmers who are harvesting wheat right now. The mornings are so humid the crops don't have time to dry out before the next rain storm rolls through. I ran to Dalton to get a Bountiful Basket while Justin bathed and fed the kids. I have not ordered one in over a year. The price is hard to beat! I ordered a box of peaches and a salad pack along with the basket. That is quite a bit of produce. Good thing we love fruit and are eating lots of green veggies. Justin and I went on a date with baby Josie. We ate pizza and salad at Sam and Louie's then strolled down the street to watch Central Intelligence. Josie was not keen on watching the movie. She was content for 1/3 of the movie while I nursed her. Mostly, I spent the movie in the hall bouncing her around. Well, the short break was worth it. Phillip barfed a little while before the movie ended. Gratefully, he barfed in the potty so Alia did not have to deal with clean up. I think the poor kid got over-heated or burped too forcefully. He was fine this morning for church. Fine, in spite of his excessive whining. I am constantly asking the kids to try their sentences again in a normal voice. I sound like a broken record. I see myself as the Eagle Muppet, stern and commanding and goofy all at the same time.
This evening we cleaned up the house as a family. The best way to clean up is to play cleaning dogs (and parrot) with the kids. They fetch and clean for cracker treats as I, the owner, gives the kids commands. The game is pretty fun and effective. Everett was a forming puppy, meaning he can transform into a human so he can run and set secret codes on all the doors. Amelia was a princess puppy. Phillip was a parrot named "squeeeeee." Hey, whatever works right?! They also like when I line them up like Army soldiers at Attention. Sister Mamea and Sandstrom came by to say goodbye. Bishop had Sister Mamea give the closing prayer in Samoan for Sacrament Meeting. Phillip whispered to me during the prayer, "mom...MOM! Why is she saying 'nacho chips, nacho chips, nacho chips, over and over? I feel hungry'..." We got quite the laugh over that.