The boys were quite excited to celebrate the 100th day of school. They dressed up as old men. Phillip designed his outfit on paper, carefully selected clothing to match his drawing, he executed his plan right down to his socks and undies. Stink...I already covered the 100th day, that was the day Everett came home from school after chucking his lunch all over his classroom floor. Oh well, the boys looked pretty cute. Enjoy a second telling of the event.
On the 30th of January Sister Jarreau dropped by on a whim and gave Evelyn a small box of Barbie dolls. She got around 25 new dolls! The look on her face was priceless. Her mouth turned into an "O" of surprise. Soon she had all the dolls naked and enjoying a tea party with playdough and water baths in her play kitchen sink. She was delighted to finally get two boy dolls, Cristoff and Prince Phillip. She removed their clothing and stuck them in the oven. I related to Ashley our woes over potty training Evelyn. I told her a gumball machine and candy sat in my Amazon cart for several weeks now. Ashley said she had a machine we can borrow! That girl saved me $30! Thank Heavens for friends. Evelyn did not have one accident the first day with the gumball machine. Day two she refused to use the potty but wanted gumballs anyhow...she already went potty...yesterday. We are working slowly on potty training, she uses the potty off an on at her whim, when she wants a gumball. She surprised us a couple times by going number 2 on her potty, a total victory for the little firecracker. She yelled at me to come check out her first poo on the potty. I did the crazy parent victory dance and asked her if she was ready for three gumballs. She smiled a wide toothy smile, revealed two gumballs already nestled in her cheeks. Little stinker got gumballs from Phillip put them in her mouth then used the potty. Just the impish look she threw me right before smiling her gumball smile is something I don't even want to forget. It was pure joy! Vader has taken to peeing on the carpet, probably result of Josie's diaper changes on the floor and Evelyn's failed attempts to potty. Even Vader barfed on the carpet a couple days after the family episode of norovirus.
I have most of the photos up on the walls now! Jen got an old door from her igloo, she is painting it cream and distressing it, I plan on hanging the door over the couch. One day I will be finished. Now to decide where to put the 100 other frames hanging out in the garage. Jen came over one day and rearranged the living room completely. She had the two couches facing each other in the middle of the room, moved the piano and yellow cabinet to the dining room, and brought over a huge focal piece of furniture. Justin got home and nixed the arrangement. Her arrangement did spark a different furniture arrangement that makes the LR more comfortable and intimate. The piano is back in the LR, the yellow cabinet is now in the basement.
Five days before Josie's birthday I decided she needed a mommy made dress. I whipped out the Pepper pattern from Violette Field Patterns and quickly had a dress cut and sewn in a day. It fit Jojo perfectly. We adore the little scripture on the dress bodice. Amelia is planning her next dress and picking out fabric possibilities. She found a unicorn fabric with a design panel on the bottom.
The girls helped me make cinnamon rolls last Sunday. Good gracious, the rolls tasted like heaven. I have not baked much the past year, to help Justin and I lose weight. I find precarious towers of stools stacked around the house as Evelyn attempts ways to get into stuff she should not have. She ate Parmesan cheese one night for dinner because the dinner I made was yucky. Amelia had an ortho appointment last week. Her retainer barely fit over her teeth. The ortho spent a good 30 minutes cutting away plastic and adjusting/readjusting the retainer wires. Guess her face grew along with her body. Makes sense. Evelyn wanted to get all dressed up for her appointment, she basked in all the attention and compliments. The girls enjoyed a special drink run afterward to Sonic. That same day an inch of fluffy snow covered the ground. The snowflakes looked like huge triple clumps stuck together. Amelia insisted on some photos outside in the snow with her newest cute shirt. I obliged since my camera was all ready, I had my studio stuff out to take photos of Josie for her birthday. Evelyn even let me put this fancy fur bonnet I have and take some photos of her. I convinced her she was Masha from Masha and the Bear.
Couple things about Phillip. I finally got his report card. He earned an outstanding in Math, Writing, and Reading. He earned Satisfactory plus in Spelling and Satisfactory in Science, Social Studies, and Handwriting. Mrs Hoekema says he is making progress, he struggles to complete his assignments in time and loses focus often, but is steadily trying his best to improve. Mrs Watchorn (reading) said she loves his excitement over what he learns and the connections he makes. He needs to practice reading for fluency. He is finally making strides and is almost reading at a 1st grade level! As a mother at home, I still struggle getting him to focus on homework. Our newest strategy is an hour of play, snack, then homework just before dinner. He gets chocolate chips for each problem he solves. One day he came home from school and asked me for a dog chew toy he could take to school. Indeed, there are chew toys for kids on Amazon. I relayed my concerns over his issues focusing to his teachers. He was denied use of a wiggle chair in homeroom and a "chew toy." I felt quite frustrated since he might need some gentle accommodations to help him. As a last resort I spoke with his speech teacher, he is still enrolled for special services (thank goodness). Mrs Huus said the teachers don't really communicate with her any issues that I discuss with the teacher. WHAT? By the end of that day I had an email with a plan to help Phillip concentrate at school. He has a wiggle chair for reading, strips of Velcro installed under his desk to fidget with, a fidget cube, the chew toy approved, and he can even chew gum when concentrating is especially hard. Score!
Justin went to the temple the day after I started antibiotics. He let me sleep in a bit Saturday morning to get a jump start. My head felt much better! He left right around noon for the rest of the day. The Lord woke me up, he really wanted Justin to attend the temple. We made it happen in spite of me feeling quite sick. As a distraction the kids and I walked to get some beans and rice for lunch. It was a nice day, very windy but temperate. After lunch we went on a little trip to Walmart for kid snacks and school Valentine cards. We were in the party aisle. I turned around to find Phillip wearing a beer hat, he wanted to get one for Justin and one for me. So we could sit on the couch drinking Coke and staring at each other. If he only knew how close to the truth that scene really is! If he only knew the true purpose of the beer hat. Since the garage was finally over 40 degrees warm I spent the rest of the afternoon spray painting a box for Amelia, the doorbell cover, and more frames.
Lately, Evelyn randomly lays the sweetest little kisses on my cheek. She will whisper something like (mom, I need chicken soup) then sweep back my hair and kiss my cheek. She has also mastered the skill of asking nicely. One moment she is screaming like a banshee for applesauce. I ignore her screeches. Next moment she clasps both hands demurely, cocks her head to the side and sweetly asks, "Mom, more applesauce, please?" We are working on keeping the sweet disposition even after I say no. It really helps her when I just don't say no. My new strategy is to delay rewards. I will say, "Yes, Evelyn you can have an applesauce after you [clean up, get dressed, after something healthy, etc]. It is so nice to finally reach the point where she can be reasoned with. She is still a curious little person. Somehow she busted open a package of blue jello powder. She decorated the floor, dusted the dog, and licked up a bowl of powder. Vader was not so keen on getting a vacuum treatment to suck the powder off his fur.
We celebrated Josie's birthday on Monday. I made a cake for her to smash on Saturday. I used a new buttercream frosting recipe. Straight out of the fridge the frosting was so hard Josie could sit on the cake without damaging it. The cake smash was not nearly as messy due to the hard frosting. She was not overly fond of the cake or frosting. Her favorite was standing up and banging on the cake. Evelyn cut herself a slice with a play kitchen knife and served herself up on a play plate. Monday I made the most delicious raspberry white chocolate cake for the bigger people. Jen, Kelly, Zane, Sierra, Adam, and baby Sophie came over to enjoy a slice of cake with us. Josie got a cute play garden from Little Tikes she can cruise along and explore. I found a cute used chair toy as well. We are so glad to have this sweet girl as part of our family. She crawled for the first time a couple weeks ago. She can now maneuver herself from her tummy into a sit with ease. Her preferred mode of movement is a cute side scoot. She pulls herself up anything she can and cruises along the furniture. This week she learned to growl like a bear, pretty much she sounds like a mewling cat, so dainty and cute.
The Elder's came over for dinner on Tuesday. Justin forgot they were coming at 5:30, he arrived home at 6:15. Poor guys froze outside for 45 minutes whilst the kids forced them to play shadow tag. Justin finally texted back that he was not coming home for a while longer. I called the Austead family and they sent over Josh to come eat dinner. Josh's dad snagged him at home and said, "Sister Call needs you to go eat dinner at their home!" Like any sane 18 year old he immediately complied. I warmed up the frozen Elder's with country fried steak, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Justin arrived home just in time to eat. The kids want to invite the Elders back for more shadow tag.
Phillip had a hard time falling asleep on Wednesday. He kept me company while I worked on Josie's photos. My nose hairs started to burn and tingle, my eyes watered, I found myself gagging. DUDE, Phillip has the gnarliest farts on this earth. His farts smell like a swamp creature that decayed up his bum. He is delighted to add smelly feet to his list of recently acquired talents. He was quickly sent to bed before he let loose another destroyer fart. Thursday we spent $270 on medical copays. Josie had her 12 mth visit. She was not keen on getting her shots and waved enthusiastically whenever the nurses/Dr left the room. Phillip and Evelyn saw the dermatologist. Both kids have acne appearing bumps on their cheeks, rump, and arms. The dr said both kids have an autosomal condition called Keratosis Pilaris, basically too much keratonin that forms around hair follicles and entraps the facial hair. The pimples are essentially entrapped facial hairs. The condition gets better after puberty and is not reflective of future acne issues. Basically, the kids inherited Justin's sensitive, bumpy skin. He gave us a prescription for a cream that will reduce the irritation. Phillip was quite embarrassed to show off his bum cheeks. He has itchy, raised lumps that drive him crazy at night. Evelyn was not so inhibited. She immediately exposed her bum and showed off her itchy spots. He gave me a list of lotions that actually work, expensive but should help reduce their dry, itchy spots. After lunch Justin went to see a specialist. Amelia came home from school with a fever of 99.1 (seriously?!) and a sore throat. I peeked at her throat and determined another Dr visit was needed. We hopped off to the walk-in clinic, yep, poor girl had a nasty case of strep. Just today she started sneezing her head off and showing the same signs of the nasty head cold Justin and I struggled with. Can we please just forget February?
Friday we spent outside. The temperature was 76 and partly sunny. You heard me correctly, 76 degrees. We busted out the chalk and enjoyed an hour making masterpieces on the patio. The little girls enjoyed the swings and the slide. I enjoyed keeping Vader outside for a day. We aired out our contaminated house with fresh air. It was a delicious treat to enjoy spring for a day in the middle of the winter. Next day it was barely 50 degrees. We now have a renewed memory of what warmer weather is like. Sigh! Dream! Yum!
Saturday was yet another day with a sick person to stay at home. Justin slept the day away. The kids and I spent an hour at Walmart. Amelia got her first training bras and a pack of sports bras. Phillip was in heaven since the character shirts were all on clearance for $2-4 dollars. I hate those shirts but he is soooooooo picky about only wearing tshirts and soft pants. The other kids also got a couple shirts, dresses, or outfits off the clearance racks. Justin woke up in time to take the older 4 kids to see Lego Batman Movie. I stayed home with a napping Josie. A notice came in the mail this week. Apparently, our new neighbor applied for a permit to keep SEVEN dogs outside, right behind our home. One is ok, two is annoying, three...seriously...7? What the heck?
I'll end this narrative with Everett's parting words. As I closed the door to his bedroom, I hear his shaky voice call out, "Mom?!...I'll never forget you!" Oh buddy, I'll never forget you! He earned a Mom hug and kiss. Sometimes these little ones just need some reassurances. Yep, it would be hard to forget the ones we love. Let's always remember!