07 May 2017

Concerts for Days

If you thought this week would calm down after the busy week before...nope. It was even busier if that is possible. Still, we really enjoyed watching each child showing off skills they worked hard to perfect.

The kids all celebrated Teacher Appreciation week at school. Each day the kids were to bring special gifts to say thank you. Phillip had a Spirit week to celebrate the end of arduous testing, his favorite day was wearing Sidney Red Raider clothes. The worst day was dressing up like a teacher, he did not want to wear a dress or put on a bow tie like the principal. He finally settled on dressing up like the PE teacher, but had a fit because he could not find the right kind of sports pants.

Phillip and Everett worked hard on their last soccer games of the season. Everett's team rounded out the season as undefeated. He really enjoyed: holding the timer to keep track of switching teammates on the field, faking injuries, kicking the ball, making scores, and sitting on as many soccer balls as possible. He sustained several kicks and balls to the head his first season. I think his brain is fine. Phillip's team played their very best but the other team won by 8 points, the older teams have a bigger field and some teams have kids in the 2nd and 3rd grades, giving them the advantage. Still! He loved his time playing soccer. Never once did he complain about going to a game. He kicked the ball a few times during his last game of the season. Everett's coach kindly hosted a pizza party at Pizza Hut to celebrate an undefeated season. Amelia almost died because all there was to eat was pizza. She thought that until I ordered her some chicken Alfredo to eat. She survived the ordeal. Everett and his mates had a grand time eating pizza and acting like weirdos. I think he downed 5 slices of pizza. Hooray for us! We made it though soccer.

Tuesday night the 4th Graders performed in the best recorder concert I've ever heard (or played in myself). I prepped myself all day, knowing the shrill whistle sounds coming for an entire hour. Sweet surprise! Mrs Michelman experienced her first year teaching music and recorders this year. I am quite literally stunned! She had fun music the kids playing along to using the notes ABC. For the range of notes the kids played the music was so cool. She trained the kids to played controlled with little to no squeaks. Three groups of two classes each performed than a special orange belt group. The kids could earn a white, yellow, and orange belts (yarn tied around their recorder to show their level). Amelia said she did not want to miss out on recess so did not try out for the orange belt group. She and Jacob Loebig wrote their own class introductions and got to announce the songs their group played. That girl is a great public performer, no fear at all. Keeping Evelyn and Josie quietly entertained was "fun." The girls were in the main aisle distracting those nearby. The noises and clapping only entertain for so long. Amelia showed off her newest trick: playing her recorder with her right nostril. Stupendous talent!

Wednesday at 2 pm Everett's class performed their Spring Sing and presented special art work focused on replicating the Impressionist artists. By this time Josie and Evelyn were quite over sitting and watching performances. Two was enough to cure them of the novelty. Evelyn stood by me as I took some photos and video recorded the concert. She was entranced with the dancing and props, this was on her level! Brushing your teeth, tying your shoes, and music speed songs?! Yes please. Everett lead the group for the decrescendo song. His energy and dance moves were captivating. I heard more than a couple titters and giggles from the audience. Everett loves performing and music as well. Justin stayed long enough to hear the songs and see Everett's displayed work of art. The girls and I stayed to enjoy a cookie and wait until he could go home for the afternoon at 2:45. Evelyn had a fun playdate with Elliott in our basement that morning. Jenny and I chatted about photography and photoshop. She is a blossoming photographer who needed a bit of help.

Josie learned how to climb up on the dishwasher while I loading up the machine. Her smiles of triumph were the cutest thing ever. She stood on her own a couple times this when placed on her feet. She cries and looks very worried to free stand. Amelia claims Josie took a couple steps after standing to get rescued by Amelia. I do find her free standing near a toy or the coffee table unaware of her feat. This week she started sticking her bum more in the air as she moves her feet. Walking is coming ever closer! I am trying to change around her nap schedule, she is having a hard time taking two naps. What she really needs is a long afternoon nap instead of a long morning nap. Finding a good nap time is a bit challenging with summer vacation a couple weeks away. I want one early enough to still enjoy the pool, but not right around lunch hour. This could be tricky. She pulled a midnight play time from 11 pm until 2:30 am, melatonin did not work. Looks like she is cutting her other top tooth. We love to watch her dance, jigging her short, stumpy legs to the beat. Her animal noises are also very endearing. She calls every one "Hi Daddy!" when someone comes home. This week Josie also started pointing and jabbering quite intently. She's trying to find her words.

Amelia is already starting the "I'm bored" whine. She did not have homework this week due to Mr Ahovissi tutoring the 4th graders in African drumming, dancing, and culture of West Africa. I cracked down right away...if your bored don't come asking me...you'll get a chore. One day she mixed cornstarch and water to play with. All the kids really enjoyed that activity. The mess was mostly cleaned up by the kids since we used cutting mats to catch the drips. Some drips landed on the floor which I swept up after it dried. She read a book and tried not to look so glum in her obvious boredom. I'm appointing her fun coordinator this summer. She can plan the activities and I will be her assistant.

Thursday the weather was so amazing outside. We spent a fine morning playing at the park with Elliott and other little friends. During Jojo's naptime I coaxed her outside to play with purple sand in the sand table. We played find the buried treasure (my fancy fake wedding ring) and loved how the fine sand swept through our fingers. After school the older kids spent more time playing outside with the sand, bubbles, and the swing. Everett started a super hero game using two foam Captain America shields. He played for a couple hours in his own little world fighting bad guys and perfecting his moves. Once when he threw the shields the wind gusted them away into the street, there the shields righted themselves and rolled down the street for two city blocks. He was pretty sure that his powers made the shields go so far. Justin mowed the lawn after dinner. A lawn guy also came and aerated our lawn. The sideyard lawn is quite firm and dirt packed, it really, really needed the aeration. The boys made thinking chairs using lawn clippings. I thought the chairs looked itchy but Phillip insisted he came up with all sorts of ideas sitting in his lawn chair. LOL.

Friday during lunch hour the 4th grade performed African dances and African drumming for parents and teachers at the High School. Amelia's group went first, they danced then drummed as a group. Once again the drumming was quite impressive and spot on the beat. Evelyn scraped her knee when we walked over, she was quite worried about her wound and whining for 3 bandaids. Evelyn is working on her posing skills. Some poses are experimental, some are darn cute. Amelia earned an African bracelet for answering some questions Mr Ahovissi asked kids about their week learning some of his culture. My favorite question: what is the capital of Africa? Trick question?!

Sister Talbot organized the best talent show our ward has ever seen...ok....the first talent show ever. Amelia and I played the duet we practiced for her piano recital. I really wanted to rap out a Dr Seuss book but Justin refused and the boys said my idea was dumb. Last moment the boys decided they needed to have a talent to show. Everett wanted to perform his Ninja Power Ranger dance moves with sound effects. Phillip wanted to control his Batbot for everyone. Somehow using my questionable mind persuasion skills I convinced him to read a BofM scripture as his talent. He's worked so hard and come so far it seemed quite a feat for our boy. Really, experiencing him read a scripture each night and watching his progress is a miracle. I set up a table earlier in the day with photos, props, and dresses I've sewn for my talent. I made a chocolate and an almond sheet cake to share for treats. Both were delicious, course I am quite partial to the almond one. Delicious. Phillip freaked out when he saw two drum kits set up near the front. Josh Austead let the boys try out his kit. Phillip did not go all "Muppets Animal" as I expected. He quite tentatively tapped a surface here and a drum there. Everett got fed up with his reticence so grabbed the sticks and showed him how, that it was ok. After Everett's intervention he played with more vigor. Everett was the one who sounded like the Muppet's Animal. Josh got a nice sideshow from my boys during the show, he captured more than a dozen silly faces and traces of crazy moves (Josh helped man the audio equipment). The ward members show off real and goofy talents. Quite a bit of singing and instrumental talents were shown. One boy did some break dancing, his dad finished the contest with some of his own moves. Little Myrah thought Everett was adorably cute performing his moves. Such a fun night for our Sidney ward. Everett finally lost his first tooth. He wiggled it so much during the talent show the tooth was barely hanging on. Justin convinced Everett to let him try and get it out. Moments later he had the tooth in his hand and a paper towel stuffed in the vacant spot. Evelyn was a nervous wreck knowing the tooth fairy was coming to visit. She also has a phantom loose tooth. Tooth fairies are quite real for Evelyn. Everett discovered an entire dollar under his pillow the next morning. He declared himself quite rich, able to buy candy from a vending machine.

Just a few hours later the church was once again swamped with families and youth for the large yard sale. I hear the youth raised over $1300 for their summer camps this year. Amelia, Josie, and I showed up early to help out. We also waited for Ella so the girls could get their annual birthday photos together. I happened to have the same material Alison used to make Ella's dress. I whipped up an easy boho dress in just a couple hours on Wednesday night. After photos I ran home so Justin could take off for Stake conference meetings in Cheyenne and to get new tires for his truck. He was not gone 30 minutes before he was back home, the truck's 3rd piston was misfiring, causing the engine to run really rough. He waited around for an hour then left. The boys woke up quite early Saturday morning. I came home to find them eagerly playing some amazing game with the Imaginext toys. That morphed into a Power Ranger game. A little while later the boys raced outside dressed as Power Rangers ready to defend Earth from invaders. Phillip got distracted with the Power Wheels. He left Everett sulking on the curb, a sword forlornly stuffed into his shirt. He did not want to "talk about it" as he escaped my camera. No worries, he emerged a while later with a new weapon and a new attitude. Phillip meanwhile took Josie on a ride around the block letting her steer. What I captured seemed the essence of childhood! Bless their hearts. Justin left, I picked up a hot and tired Amelia from the garage sale and we went to Subway for lunch. We lucked out, the subway had only one worker and a line of 20 people. We lined up right before the other 20 folks showed up. After lunch the kids played on the train car for a while. I filled up the wading pool with water since outside was over 80 degrees. The kids enjoyed a lovely afternoon playing in the water and sprinkler. They loved swinging into the sprinkled water. The water aimed at the swing lead to a mud puddle under the swing. That lead to pigs warming themselves in bliss (Phillip's words). Everett and Evelyn were quite immune to the mud action. Evelyn was dressed as a mermaid, she was afraid to get her tail dirty. Everett heard me say that after playing in mud was my turn to spray them off with the hose. That was my treat. Amelia painted Phillip up pretty good, he only had a couple bare spots left. The mud released two very strange mud zombie monsters. I am so glad they had a great time. Josie watched them play from the safety of the rocked tree area. She wanted to join but also did not want to. She hates the grass so always finds a haven under the tree. Such a lovely afternoon with my punks. After baths/showers and dinner we spread blankets out on the front lawn and played "I Spy." Josie was a total goofball as she laughed and rolled around on the soft blankets. She made me laugh with her infectious giggles.

Today we attended Stake Conference, the meeting was broadcast to our building this time. We enjoyed several talks and many testimonies. Our Stake President challenged us all to bring a friend to church in June either for a special meeting (in June) or for a class based on the new initiative to be prepared. Challenge accepted! After church Amelia got to perform her recital pieces at the E-Free church along with Mrs Raymond's other students. We played our duet Pagoda in the Purple Mist and she performed The Dragon Hunt as a solo. She was nervous this time to perform in front of strangers. She played beautifully as usual! I am relieved this coming week looks rather empty.

**I found Phillip in the kitchen staring at the remains of a squished cherry tomato, his gaze held wonder and fear. Curious about why there was a squashed tomato on the floor I asked about the situation. He said his foot accidently stomped on the tomato because he was curious over how far the insides would explode. After cleaning up the mess the boys ran outside with four tomatoes each to continue their accidental science experiment. Phillip was the fast stomper and Everett was the slow, careful stomper. Phillip won. The remains of the poor tomatoes can still be seen, baked into the concrete.

***Evelyn finally went poop in the potty three times this week. After every success she was quite happy to tell me I could not give her a cold bath. Maybe she hated them after all her pretended adoration. I am quite happy to celebrate with her and treat her with 6 tic tacs as a reward.

***I tried out a simple menu this week, to cut down on food shopping excess. Our bill was a quite a bit lower and there was less food to waste. The kids were not excited because the snacks were also significantly less. Menu planning makes me shudder, maybe I can do something simple. In my mind the process includes recipe gathering, making full grocery lists, and such. I am not that kind of person (yet).

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