Halloween is lovely especially when outside is a balmy 70 degrees, we traded snow boots and coats for normal shoes and no layers. That was really, really nice. This week I tried to sleep train Josie back to napping in her bed. Monday-Thursday she sat/stood in her crib and cried for 1.5 hours. I expected the first day to be the longest cry fest. It never shortened or stopped. Looks like if that girl will nap it will be on the floor or wherever I put her down. Sleep training is brutal. She took two little catnaps which did little to abate her extreme crankiness. Pretty much I had a very tired and clingy baby all week. Her crib angst does not affect her night sleep so I let it go. She napped Friday-Sunday on the floor happy as a clam (as long as I was next to her). Naps last only about 30-45 minutes now. She is a full strength "mine" type of toddler. Happy until you grab her bucket, blanket, binky, shoes, diapers, etc. Josie makes us laugh with her joy of new experiences. She has this funny little happy dance where she chortles while dancing around. This week she discovered a love for spray bottles. If you give her one and a rag that girl will clean until she gets bored. She cleaned the dog, the floor, the carpet, several walls, and my lower cabinets.
Halloween day started early with a costume parade at Sonoma Ranch. The kids actually got to wear their costumes to school! They could keep their costumes on as long as they did not interfere with learning. Most kids wore parts of their costumes all day, Phillip changed his shirt and Everett took off his body suit. The night before I went to Target and bought the last Shine costume on the racks. Evelyn was over joyed! She gave me a grateful hug and kiss! I took the kids to school so the little girls and I could watch the parade. Josie was hilarious with her "bird" costume as she renamed her butterfly suit. After morning announcements the parade began. Josie was thrilled to notice Amelia towards the end, she ran up and insisted on marching along with her! Everyone (including myself) said, "Ahhhh! So adorable!" Justin came home right after lunch to work from home. With traffic he would've missed all the excitement! His boss suggested he go home early and work the afternoon at home. Brilliant! Once piano lessons were over I dished up early dinner. I raced to get makeup on the girls and costumes back on. Our ward hosted a fun Halloween street. Quite a few ward members live on a particular street nearby. They got city permission to block off traffic for a roaring block party. Along the street folks handed out candy. Stations of root beer, popcorn, fishing, a Halloween movie, face painting, etc dotted here and there. I helped out with the face painting station for a while. Amelia seemed in her own little world dancing to Thriller in the middle of the street with little abandon. We had a really nice time. Around 7:10 we drove home to let the kids trick or treat around our little neighborhood. The occasion was a good excuse to meet some of our neighbors as well. Around the corner 5-6 homes threw a block party while watching a baseball game, handing out candy, and eating hot dogs. The kids were quite terrorized by the house with a ghoul projected on the garage, the next house was even more terrifying with a motorized werewolf. Phillip had nightmares for three nights and ended up in my bed he was so scared. After all the excitement the kids came home and started the great candy trade-off. As soon as buckets were dumped on the floor the trading began in earnest: "Mia, trade me your snickers for my Reese's?" I think they had just as much fun trading as they did collecting the treats.
Wednesday and Thursday I spent cleaning up the post-holiday mess. I started drinking this nasty liver-cleansing drink with vinegar, lemon, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, and raw honey. It tastes like an apple cider gone very wrong. I upped my raw veggie intake quite a bit, adding broccoli, salads, and power greens. It's not much fun to choke down raw veggies with no condiments. I'll manage, as I gnaw on this here head of broccoli. Blech.
Wednesday Evelyn Hornbarger surprised us with a visit. She is in the area helping her in-laws while her father-in-law is in the hospital. She needed to get out, we needed a visit from a friendly face, and so it all worked out. Seth seemed glad to come play in our yard with my Evelyn. We popped out to enjoy a special drink or two from Sodalicious. Mostly, we had some good chats about my liver and the state of Sidney after the merger.
Evelyn had a preschool evaluation for the Amanecer preschool early Thursday morning. She was very excited to finally go to school like the big kids. Evelyn packed up a lunch of 2 apple sauces, 2 fruit snacks, chips, and a drink, half to share with Josie. The evaluation was interesting to watch. Evelyn was evaluated by several specialists as they engaged her in play at several stations. First station was gross motor skills (kicking balls, balance beam, throwing bean bags). Next was fine motor skills like scissor cutting (she's good at this one), coloring, and some color/number identification. Then her social-emotional skills were tested while playing house with a teacher. Lastly, some cognitive skills and speech tests were conducted. She passed all with high scores except speech. She has a stutter much like Everett did except her stutters come in the middle of her sentences instead of the beginning. The teachers were quite impressed with her art skills. I heard her tell one teacher that Everett was dressed up like a ninja was bad eyebrows. She will get another one-on-one evaluation towards the end of November. If I can get her into the preschool with a speech IEP, then preschool is free. May as well try?! Evelyn had a fun time playing with the adults. We made a library run afterwards. I am sad Evelyn does not enjoy the library as much as I do. Once inside she loved the toddler area.
The big miracle of our week is that we got an offer on our Sidney home. Wednesday afternoon Nan emailed Justin to let him know we might get an offer. Sure enough the next day we had an offer signed after just one renegotiation. They offered $107 and we countered at $112 with a couple items like no big fixes etc. During this process another offer came at the same time for $112. We still went with the first offer since I knew the family and trusted their situation more than the second unknown family. We are pleased with the offer and feel quite relieved to be headed towards closing. What a miracle. I still feel a little guilty that our house is selling when so many others are stalled out, some for over 18 months. Just the night before we prayed as a family our house would sell, Jacob was over since his mother is in California. We told him the good news the next day, he immediately smiled and declared: "God answered your prayer from last night! That was fast!" Justin had the idea to celebrate with taco Thursday at Del Taco. The kids had not complaints since the place has a play area. Their favorite game of late is hot lava. Evelyn is always pretending the floor is hot lava...or when we are out driving. It is hilarious.
Justin's work observed Veteran's Day on Friday, a week in advance of the rest of the USA. It was so nice to spend a low key day at home with him. We took the two little girls on a long, whine free bike ride. Enjoyed some time to talk about things we never seemed to find time to talk about. On our way home we stopped at the park for a break. Justin mowed the lawn and edged it! I felt spoiled. We made a quick stop at Home Depot for a gas can, winter grass seed, ant killer, and roach bait. We surprised the kids at school lunch. We fit right in with our home lunches. Justin totally caught Everett by surprise, he was busy eating when Justin snuck up behind him and asked why he was not eating his food. The lunch ladies found us a secluded table to enjoy our lunch. Phillip and Amelia found us as their classes came to the cafeteria. It was fun to put names and faces together for some of their friends. Recess was a wild affair. Phillip showed us how all the sand ends up in his undies and shoes. That kid was sliding and throwing sand all over himself. Mystery solved.
A few days ago Evelyn somehow got the idea that Robbers would try to steal her tent and binky. She constantly talks about robbers now. She locks all the doors. She talks about how Justin's muscles and guns will protect her stuff. A maintenance guy came over today, she freaked out because he rang the bell. She was sure he was a robber here to take our stuff. It is funny to catch a glimpse into her little world from time to time. Lava and robbers.
Saturday we instituted super cleaning time. A parental torture session involving kids moaning and parents yelling for cooperation. We ended up with a clean house, bedrooms included. I was happy! Maybe now I can get to deep cleaning instead of constant clutter control. Justin and I both have memories of Saturday morning torture as we cleaned house. Guess it's time to pass on the favor. The boys and Evelyn went to Anson's birthday party. I got the times mixed up so they were an hour late. I stayed behind to let Josie nap. Amber and Mike dropped off their younger kids, Megan and Amy, to play while they went to the temple. Amelia had a really great time with them. The girls mostly made perler creations and played outside. Towards the end the girls got an idea to make trash bag dresses. So the last 30 minutes the girls raced around designing dresses and decorating them with hot glue, gorilla tape, and accessories. Evelyn was so glad to see Amber, soon she had Amber pushing her on the swing.
I had the time of my life shopping alone at Lee Lee Asian Market. Most markets I've frequented were just a couple aisles. Not this store. It was a huge store the size of Walmart filled with international foods from the orient. I loved the produce area, so many exotic choices one would never, ever see at Walmart. The meat area reminded me of a genuine fish market. Tanks of live fish, freshly butchered fish on ice, prawns the size of my open hand! The aisles were organized by country, Thailand, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Brazil, India, Vietnam, Middle East, and Cajun (strange I know). Each aisle was a delight with so many new smells and ingredients.
Sunday we had Stake Conference. Phillip was sick to his tummy so spent half the time in the foyer with Justin. Hence, the little girls were up and down, in and out to check on Justin. Our stake theme for the next year is Hold to the Rod! Part of the conference was televised along with hundreds of other stakes in the west. After church Phillip decided Cagey the hamster needed a bath. So he put the rodent in his ball and filled it with water. Good thing the ball does not hold much water! Poor guy was wet from whiskers to toes. Phillip carefully wrapped his wet pet in a paper towel because he was shivering so badly. I am unsure if the shivering was from cold or that a human boy was holding the hamster. He survived the ordeal. Phillip hopefully now understands that hamsters don't take baths, rather the animal washes itself. The video he took and subsequent photos of the event are quite entertaining.