22 February 2017

Valentine's Day 2017




















I signed up to feed the Elder's Monday night. We had the privilege of meeting the new Elder first, fresh from a transfer from Ft Collins. I am sure Sidney was a bit of culture shock! Justin and I somehow miscommunicated, he heard it was STEAM night at Central school, which it was, I reminded him we were feeding the Elder's at 5:30. Poor guys had to camp out on my front porch for 45 minutes until I could track down a priesthood holder. It was a crisp, cold evening so they certainly earned their chicken fried steak and mashed potato dinner. The kids played an exuberant game of shadow tag and pestered the missionaries. I finally found Josh Austead at home, he rushed over to serve our family and eat a hot meal. His dad poked into Josh's room saying, "The Calls need some service, go eat a meal with with." What 18 year old would refuse? I might based on my children's reputation. Justin arrived a couple minutes after Josh arrived. We let him stay and eat! I was excited to report about my brother Jared's mission call to Johannesburg South Africa. I am so proud of that kid, he's worked hard to become mission able. Justin and I laid out Valentine treats and cards for the next morning.

Our little Valentines woke up excited for school parties much earlier than usual. For once I did not need to fight Phillip to get out of bed, choose clothes, get dressed, and eat breakfast. He jumped right out of bed and slid into Valentine worthy clothes (a red/black Darth Vader shirt). The kids especially loved the little stuffies we got them! Amelia named her unicorn Pinky Pie, Phillip named his dino Dart, Everett named his puppy Brownie, and Evelyn named her elephant Elephant. Josie drooled on her cute giraffe as she gnawed a plastic eye. I bestowed a bag of high protein treats for my love, jerky, nuts, and a couple chocolates...even a cute Star Wars card. Justin and I caught a lunch date at Della's for their awesome gyro salad. Evelyn was quite excited to wear her Valentine dress with boots and a pony tail. She loves to have her hair in a pony tail EVERY DAY. The girls slurped down some chicken soup. Josie was not feeling so great, after effects of her immunizations a few days prior. The little girls and I stopped by Jen's shop and gave her some cards the kids helped make with photos we took of them on Sunday. She was delighted with the attention. After school was a flurry of candy eating and card inspecting. Evelyn used her sneaky skills to filch candy when the owner was not attentive. She ate more than half of Phillip's candy when he got distracted. Amelia made a very adorable Valentine's box using craft paper and glue. I helped cut out and with the hot glue. Josie wore her first whale spout of hair on her head. She rocked the top pony like a champ. Heart eyes all over!!! We ended out lovely day with a steak dinner at home. Justin cooked up the steaks to medium rare perfection, I roasted Brussels sprouts and tomatoes under the broiler for a side dish. Dessert was an even more rare occurrence of Andes Mint Brownies. We walked a piece over to our new neighbor as a welcome to the neighborhood treat. I hated Valentine's Day once I reached my teen years. I love it now, love it because I can spoil my cute kids and wonderful spouse.

Wednesday morning Vader caught a stomach bug and barfed in his dog bed. Justin was not up to cleaning up the mess. Quite frankly, neither was I. I girted up my spine and grabbed the disgusting bed and my dirty floor mats. The girls and I spent a nice hour at the laundromat watching the huge machine spin the items clean. I cursed when the cycle ended, the dog bed had split open during the wash and covered all the items with brown poly fill stuff. A week later I am still finding puffs of dog bed stuffing on the floor and mats. Justin stopped at Walmart on his way home to get a new bed.

I left early Thursday morning to enjoy a day of decoration shopping in Cheyenne. I made it to Hobby Lobby, Once Upon a Child, TJ Maxx, and Target. I found most of what I needed at Hobby Lobby. Amelia was in desperate need of church dresses and size 10 clothing and size 1 shoes, her wardrobe got upgraded at the clothing store. Evelyn loves that store. She grabbed a cart and shopped for clothes and toys. She gasped when I found a Barbie Mermaid dress, "OH! Tank you Mommy! It my favorite!" Evelyn spied Chik-fil-a down the road and insisted we go there for lunch. I had my heart set on Chipotle, the kid won. Josie finally napped for 10 minutes while we raced through TJ Maxx. I set a record for Target, only spent 15 minutes inside to get a floor mat. After changing diapers, potty stops, nursing breaks, and such we made it home by 4 pm. Ashley picked up Everett from school, the older kids knew I would be home soon after they got off the bus. Someone (I think it was me, blush) left yogurt on the coffee table. Josie noticed it and had her first experience making a decent mess. She was delighted to feed herself, paint the table, and squish handfuls of yogurt. Oh man, she hammed it while once Justin came in to inspect the damage. She shot him the most mischievous smile I've ever seen on that baby. We might have seen a glimpse into her unfolding personality.

We enjoyed a long 4-day weekend for winter break. Friday we made the annual trip to Pizza Hut and Justin's office with all the kids in tow. This year we had lunch first because Justin had a late meeting until noon. He tried hard to lobby for Mexican but he royally lost, tradition is tradition even if it tastes gross and is not diet friendly. The dieters bellied up to the salad bar. The rest fancied the pasta and pizza bar. The pizza bar won in the end, we all ate a couple slices of pizza...well, except Amelia. She still hates pizza. I am honestly worried about her, what is a teenager that does not appreciate pizza? Maybe her taste will change? What does this dislike mean for the future? At one point I had my camera out to catch Josie eating her pizza. She noticed me and immediately screwed on a cute smile and flirted with the camera. I died. Seriously. We trekked over to Justin's office next. Our troupe sounded like a menagerie of monkeys inside the building. Once on the correct floor, I could see faces popping up from cubicles, curious was the commotion entailed. Yah know, just the Call family coming to entertain for a little while. I enjoyed talking with Justin's boss lady. She is really, really nice. I was mostly on the floor so Josie could explore, she got right down on the floor with me! Yep, that is a mom-at-heart kind of a boss. The older kids raided Justin's office. We heard Everett's groans after he could not find the calculator with the receipt paper. His sole focus centered on playing with that machine. He had to settle for a regular calculator. Phillip drew a fancy picture of Justin as a monkey with glasses. Justin used the extent of his artistic abilities drawing a poop emoji, good job honey. Once the noise level increased the parental figures left the crowd of coworkers to control the menagerie. Phillip found pop-up tape, made himself a hilarious mustache. Soon Amelia had eyebrows and Everett a sol-patch. Fun times. We stopped off at the park on our way home for an hour of play in the sun. That was a pretty good day.

Saturday I was determined to clean the garage out and finally get Christmas back up into the attic. The attic stairs finally busted. Whomever installed the stairs did not get the proper length. The bottom of the staircase just hangs, swinging freely. We still used the stairs until the hinge broke. Now getting stuff up and down is a huge pain. Took us all day to sort, ferry items into the attic, and throw away the winter accumulation of stuff. Felt soooooo amazing to get the area cleaned up. I even cleaned out the garage fridge and freezer, after 6 years or so. That is embarrassing but true. Amelia was quite the stinker. We asked her to help and she flat out refused, ran outside and started playing. Sometimes I just want to beat that child. I politely asked for her help again giving her a choice: stay in bed for the rest of the day OR clean out the shoe bin (whatever needed to be done). She accepted the latter choice with a side hug. Drama!!! The kids spent most of the day playing outside while we worked. Once again: I love family work days. Makes it seem like the housework belongs to US and not just me. I get tired of doing most of the work during the week.

Sunday I got to teach my Sunday School class and Sunbeams. The older class did just great. I am constantly amazed at the spirit that always attends. I feel the love God has for these teenagers, and love that he needs to feel at every opportunity. The Sunbeam class was a bit sketchy. Number one Evelyn was in attendance, all she wanted was a turn on the iPad. Miss Shaylee was the other attendee. I prepared a cute lesson all about Dads and babies. The topic was HF is the father of Jesus and the nativity story. Instead Shaylee had an accident. I asked if the girls needed a potty break, no...all clear. No sooner than Josie started nursing Shaylee needed to potty. I had 15 seconds notice before she let loose. Both girls started bawling, Josie joined in for good measure. After the girls were squared away we returned to resume the lesson. Evelyn would not share her baby dolls with Shaylee. As a last resort I helped the girls color makeup on the baby photo copies I brought with me. It was a good day! I am still laughing over all the faux pas of that little hour with 3 year olds. After dinner Justin and I worked on cleaning the living room and kitchen area. I arranged to get the living room carpets cleaned so all the furniture and stuff needed to the cleared out. I feel giddy when our carpets get cleaned. Is that strange? ha ha ha ha

**a nice, opinionated lady at Hobby Lobby commented on Evelyn having a binky stuck in her mouth. She said, "You are way too old to nurse that sucking reflex. You need to get rid of it before you damage your mouth and teeth. Big girls should be ashamed to have such a babyish item hanging from her mouth." Yes, agreed. I felt quite ashamed, because she was really talking to me though my child. It was hard to just hold my tongue and thank her for her unwanted opinion. I decided the opinion stung because her words are my thoughts half the time. I don't need to explain myself, she is too old for a binky. It does need to go. When it comes down to the battles of toddlerhood, I focus on regulating emotions, learning to become self-sufficient, and being polite. Quite frankly, the rest is hard for me to work on. This child is crazy. She sleeps with us (me), she is resistant to potty training, is delayed in speech, is precocious, hates clothing, and loves to pick a fight. The binky seems like a minor issue when compared to the rest Evelyn. Eh, just have it. She well end up with braces no matter what we do, she was born with a very narrow upper palate.