The first part of this week felt like a count down, a count down to the rest of our year. Indeed it was, school started on Thursday. We went from lazy days to early mornings, long days, and early nights. The transition was hard on us all! The last few days with no school were filled with growing excitement over school starting. The kids found a stash of water balloons when I cleaned out the pantry. They figured out a way to fill the balloons all by themselves. I tied the balloons they filled up. Our kids are quite the clever clogs. After dinner we drove out the the sunflower fields to admire them. I took photos of the girls wearing vintage dresses with the sunflowers. Swoon.
Monday we got swimsuits on right after lunch to spend the afternoon at the pool. Then we learned the pool hours changed and was closed until 4 pm. Darn it. Everett got to play with Nola for a couple hours. We met the Anderson family at the pool. The kids swam until after 6 pm. Evelyn was so tired she swam for an hour then whined until we left. Justin helped get pizza ready for dinner so the hungry masses could feed, After dinner David Fritz came over to finally install a new garage door opening system. I really missed having an automatic door opener! The old system was not well-anchored, it finally shook itself apart. We manually operated the door for about a month. For FHE Justin gave Father's blessings to kick off the school year. The boys were quite excited to get a real priesthood blessing. Evelyn followed the kid's lead and actually sat still for a couple minutes for her own blessing. Amelia immediately started crying when Justin started her blessing. He talked about her hip and blessed her to deal with her feelings and pain as she goes to school. I had tears in my own eyes since she was crying. Justin gave me a blessing as well. Since announcing my business closure several folks ask if they can get an exception and schedule a "little" session. I finally got my answer to prayers over my decision to close. I finally felt the affirmation after two weeks since actuating my decision. Interestingly, Justin said that Heavenly Father answers me in little ways often after the fact. Felt like a load lifted off my shoulders as he gave the blessing. Even more amazing, he blessed me to know and feel that even though I often feel like we are just surviving, all is well and our family is on the right track. I am always amazed at how the smallest questions are answered during a blessing, questions I ask in the deepest parts of my heart.
I instituted a new bedtime shortly after 8 pm. It is splendid! We get more alone time at night and the kids were much happier with more sleep.
Josie finally got her first tastes of baby food. As long as my babies are content I wait to introduce food. She was waking up more at night so she got cereal for the first time. Her first real meal was oatmeal and bananas. Justin fed her a couple spoonfuls, then Amelia fed her a couple. She was quite entranced with the new experience. She did really well sucking it right down. The next day she tried sticking out her tongue right as I put the spoon in her mouth. She mostly played with her meal the second day. By Saturday she became quite the pro slurping down cereal. I introduced yogurt as well the third day.
Wednesday the kids and I visited Justin at work. He moved into the new building back in March (I think) and we had not seen his new office. The kids loudly announced their presence as we traveled up to floor 3. I fixed Evelyn's hair in messy buns, which turned out so, so adorable. The kids entertained Justin's office mates and made sure his space was kid approved. Amelia wrote a cute sign on his white board. Evelyn was upset at Everett because he erased her pink scribbles. Josie got a huge dose of attention from all the ladies. We lunched at Pizza Hut just because it seems to be the thing to do when we visit Justin at work. Afterwards I made a blitz trip into Walmart for hooks, crayons, and a storage bin. The kids painted sun catchers for the weekly art project. Phillip and Evelyn spread paint everywhere, those two are just amazing. We spent an hour at the pool. We raced home to get ready for Back to School night at North and South Elementary Schools. Dinner was not quite ready so we had to go with empty tummies. We arrived in time to hear the lectures from the teacher and principal. Phillip has Mrs Hoekema this year, a veteran teacher with lots of years under her belt. Seems the student love her! I signed up to bring snacks the first week of school since Phillip's birthday is the first full week. I was quite dismayed the school banned any home baked foods, we have to provide prepackaged foods from peanut free facilities. No cupcakes. Between schools we stopped at the grocery store to get the kids lunchables for dinner. It was enough to keep the kids from going atomic. Amelia has Mrs Roach this year. Her teacher reminds me of Mrs Belieu, so I hope her year is better than last year. Amelia was almost in tears during the lecture part she was so nervous. Justin had the little ones out in the hall, occasionally we could hear Evelyn scream. Amelia buried her head in embarrassment! I tried so hard not to smile, she thinks Phillip is the strangest beast on our planet. The walk back to the van seemed to calm down her nerves a bit. Dealing with the normalcy of two wild kids and Everett moved the focus from starting a new grade to her brothers. As soon as we walked in the door the kids grabbed a quick snack, arranged clothes for the next morning, and went to bed. By 8:30 all was quiet on our Western Front.
Thursday dawned bright and early. The kids were up and bubbling with excitement. Phillip even ate his breakfast and got dressed without the usual struggle. We had time to get a couple "First Day" photos. Evelyn was caught up in all the excitement so got herself dressed up and packed a lunch box with 3 thermoses of grape koolaid. Justin took the middle two and I took Everett to kindergarten roundup. He walked into the school like a boss, giving everyone he could high fives. He got a name tag with a red star on it indicating his color group. He was quite excited to realize Nola was in the red group too. After getting tagged the kids rushed out the door to play while the parents attended yet another boring meeting whilst filling out mounds of paperwork. Evelyn decided she was still tired so plopped down and drank one of the three thermoses of juice, then whined about going to play outside. Evelyn, Josie, and I celebrated with a food shopping trip to Walmart. Evelyn's favorite activity is to get dressed up in a sparkly dress, princess shoes, fake jewelry, and a purse for Ellie to go "Shopping!" Her eyes light up when I tell her we are going shopping. So cute. We finished shopping in time to get back home, unload, nurse the baby, and then walk to the school to fetch Everett. He was filled with stories about his first day of testing. Evelyn took a long nap (thank goodness) at the same time Josie did, a rare occurrence. I used the opportunity to edit photos from the last session I did a couple weeks ago. We waited outside for Amelia and Phillip to get off the buses. Amelia got off, Phillip did not. He went on an extended tour of the countryside. It took some time to realize he was missing, contact the school, find the bus driver, and arrange a rendezvous. He got back home close to 5 pm. The next day he got off the bus at the High School like he was supposed to. Ah Phillip! I was not surprised, he talked about wanting to know where the bus went to. Now, he knows. Amelia made the same mistake her first day of riding the bus.
Amelia missed school on Friday because of a nasty headache, runny nose, cough, and sore throat. I hear that strep, common cold, and mono are making the rounds. Phillip was not keen about going to school alone. He tried to fake it. Everett got to take his school supplies to school in his huge backpack. The pack nearly brushed his calves as he walked along. He waltzed right in ignoring the ladies who tried to get his attention. He finally realized they were talking to him and returned to chat. They told him his teacher this year is Ms Bouy in room 3. He heard room three and smiled a huge smile. We located room 3...he ran in and gave his new teacher a huge hug and declared, "I'm Everett, I'm 5!" He got to pick a place to sit. The best part was finding his name on his locker, inside the locker was a special treat. He was convinced Ms Bouy gave him smarties because he is soooooooo smart. He was impressed she knew how smart he was. I adore his enthusiasm. Once again I worked on editing the last session off and on all day. It is so hard to sit down now that my business is closed. Everett complained of a headache after noon. He barfed on the carpet before going to bed. Dude! Get a bowl or run to the bathroom. Instead he nonchalantly sat down and barfed a line down the living room carpet. I hate the Call barf gene, it is a curse.
The Markum family ended up with 7 extra tickets for the Ft Collins Temple Open House on Saturday at 4:30. We snagged up the tickets and made a last minute excursion to Colorado. Our tickets are for Monday afternoon, so Saturday worked much better since work and school are going on. I was worried about the kids being too tired on Tuesday from the long Monday trip. It worked out perfectly. We drove to Sterling had lunch, continued to the Curry home. On the way we passed a feed lot, Evelyn smelled the stench and immediately complained: "Ewwwww! Mom! Pillip poop, stinky, Pillip parted, scusting!" We laughed that Phillip gets the stinky blame in our family. We picked up stuff that we left there a couple weeks ago, said hello, and continued on to the temple. Evelyn picked out her outfit. I wish you could've seen the original outfit: gray sparkly dress, Cinderella shoes, Hello Kitty purse, pink beads, and a boho headband scrunching her hair up in strange patterns. That kid is priceless. Each time I tried to get a photo she would duck and bail. Evelyn was very excited to see the temple. I could hear her mutter, temple, every once in a while. We met up with the Markum family, saw an introductory movie at the Stake Center, then walked to the Temple. It is a smaller temple, but like all temples beautifully crafted. We loved all the art work focused on Colorado's wildlife and terrain. Amelia forgot her crutch at home and all the wheelchairs were taken, she was in quite a bit of pain during the tour. Justin had to carry Evelyn because she would not wear the plastic shoe covers. The other kids thought the covers were awesome, especially Everett. Amelia thought the covers tickled for a while, then complained when they started to itch. Phillip used the three-panel mirror in the Bride's room to admire his missing teeth. An usher had to politely ask him to move on. Everett gasped over the chandeliers in the Celestial Room. Amelia and Phillip thought the baptistery was really wonderful. After the tour we entered a tent to chat with Missionaries and get a family photo taken. Samples of the decor were laid out for the kids to touch. We walked the grounds after for a moment. Evelyn discovered she could make hand prints with wet hands after dipping them into the fountain. We snagged sushi for dinner. The kids all loved the Miso soup, ate several rolls of veggie sushi, and ate a platter of tempura. I am proud that my kids will try new foods with no or very little hesitation. The old sushi chef was not so sure about our tribe, he eyed us with worry, especially when Evelyn started to wander. I worried too so took her outside to wander in peace. We arrived back home late Saturday evening. I am very glad we got to see the temple as a family. The entire day worked out perfectly! Such a testimony that God is attentive to our worries and opens up opportunities for us to find.
Phillip woke up with a snotty nose and soon followed Everett's footsteps by barfing. He did make it to the toilet. Evelyn started to run a low grade fever with her runny nose. I decided to keep the kids home from church. Really, to torture myself with 5 cranky kids. All day the kids fought, cried, and gnashed their teeth. Phillip is the worst when sick, he takes whining to a new level. We survived the day. Our evening was quite nice with a walk and warm chocolate chip cookies for treat.