We were so lucky to enjoy almost a week with Grandma Debbie here in Arizona. We wore ourselves out this week working around the house. I am so grateful for her help, not sure I would have tackled the garage without her help.
Monday for FHE I started a new incentive program to increase gratefulness and more appreciation. When the kids are prompt, get homework done, act without complaint, and go out of their way to be nice they can put a warm fuzzy or two into their incentive jar. Once the jar is full they will earn a fun reward like making a blanket fort, time alone with mom or dad, going for an ice cream cone, or FaceTiming a friend, etc. Seems like it is working to increase morale around here. They are earning more than they lose. I picked up my mom from the airport around 9:10 pm. She got settled and we went to bed.
The kids woke up excited to find that indeed Grandma was here to visit. Evelyn was not so excited because she developed a high, steady fever Monday afternoon, it finally broke late Thursday afternoon. Poor girl took several naps throughout the week which is highly unusual for her. The RS President and her counselor (Sister Larry) came to visit us around 9 am. We enjoyed visiting for a while. Grandma gave Evelyn a pack of My Little Pony paper dolls to decorate and play with. She perked up for a bit while coloring.
Wednesday morning we took Evelyn in to see a doctor. I called the clinic where Aunt Laura Call's father works. They immediately told me since I was new there were no openings until the next week. I pulled the "Well...Dr Auxier is my Sister-in law's father..." card. That worked and had an appointment scheduled for the next hour. She had strep throat. My mom and I worked hard to empty all boxes in the garage. It was over 100 degrees in the garage. We were both covered in sweat after just a few moments. Before the end of the night we made sufficient room to park the van inside the garage. The girls often cry when getting in because their buckles are so hot. The sun melted the finish off my expensive prescription glasses (boo hoo). We worked on moving all the plastic bins to one side, mom shoved empty electronics boxes up into the burning hot attic, and Friday we emptied the last of the large wardrobe boxes. It was nice to find the last few missing items. Mom also worked on putting some craft supplies into the library drawer system Jen gave me. The drawers won't fit it all but at least I can have some items accessible! She made spaghetti for dinner (my favorite mom meal) one night.
The kids and I visited the public library and got new cards! They were all very excited to get their own card to check out books. Amelia went into bookworm mode reading a series about Pegasus, a true middle school series (think Rick Riordian). Mom and I read quite a few books aloud to the boys, especially Geronimo Stilton the Mouse books. We were quite overwhelmed over the size of the library. It was like Mecca for books after our little library in Sidney. I can't wait to go back with less kids and find books I want to read. Checking out was a loud affair. Josie's most recent talent is squealing or screaming anytime she feels the slightest bit aggravated. Phillip is quite adept at making her squeal. I felt a bit frazzled before the end of our visit.
Friday Justin got off work at noon so was home at 1 pm. He rested then we went to Home Depot to find hardware to hang our swings and dirt for our garden areas. Evelyn brought her birthday $5 from Grandma and Grandpa Call. She was bound and determined to buy a candy. She marched up to the checkout stands chose her treat AND a Gatorade, continued her way to the register. Plopped her selections down, unzipped her wallet, and handed him her money. She was quite pleased to get a dollar and change back. That little firecracker, said, "Thanks Dude!" and walked away with her receipt. Mom and I scoured two Goodwill's in search of another bookcase. We visited a plant nursery for information about local gardening for vegetables and herbs. I am quite excited over the extended growing season. We enjoyed a special dinner out to Chik-Fil-A with Grandma. Our goal was to get some photos of Phillip taken at the Mesa Temple and drop off mom to visit Great-Aunt Shirley. Faux pas number one: I left my camera at home. Justin ate his dinner in the car while he ran back home to fetch it. Faux pas number two: the drive between the temple and Shirley's was more than 5 minutes (more like 18 minutes). I almost missed having sufficient light to take photos of Phillip. I made it work in spite of my ISO pushed to the upper limits. We enjoyed a nice hour touring the grounds and the visitor's center. Everett had tears in his eyes after watching a movie where a family lost their 6 year old son due to a bus accident. He cried for quite some time touched, that the boy died but still had his family. He squeezed my hand three times just like the movie said the family said "I love you." Afterwards we visited for a bit with Shirley before heading home. Grandma is convinced that Evelyn resembles Aunt Shirley as a girl. It is more in the facial expressions but certainly there.
Saturday we had our first cloud cover day since moving here. The sun was muted all day...but the humidity was terrible. We spent a lazy day playing and relaxing. Mom, Amelia, Evelyn and I all went to Smart & Final, a discount grocery store I hear Grandma Jean is quite fond of. Indeed, it was a fun store to shop in. I felt giddy with all the new international options and range of choices. Even their produce was more than decent, better than Walmart. Grandma went back home around 3 pm.I felt a bit empty as I did dinner dishes and put her water cup in the dishwasher. The kids were over the moon with dinner, Calabacitos and Sally Lunn bread. Amelia said, "Mom this is the most tastiest way to get me to eat veggies!" Each older kid downed 2-3 servings each. While making the dish I was worried about all the weeks of leftovers I'd be eating. The kids bathed quickly then we watched a family movie.