25 January 2018

Pinewood Derby

























Josie's hair is long enough to wear pulled back into two adorable pony tails. The style stayed longer than I thought it would, probably thanks to wet hair and hair spray. She looked like a little girl, probably because her next birthday is just a few weeks away now. My mom heart flutters when she says "thank you mommy" after I help her. She even shared a toy with a younger child the other day, something that I've never seen happen. Time for another baby. Just teasing, I wish, I have to keep in mind that babies grow up into mouthy pre-teens! 

We celebrated Martin Luther King Day with Justin working from home and the rest of us trying not to get on each other's nerves. Evelyn really wanted her face painted again, Shine style. She had her face done first. I painted a cute Pikachu on Mia's cheek and a Charizard on Phillip's forehead. Mia, whoops, Amelia, painted a poke ball and lightening on Everett's cheek. Amelia won't let the boys call her Mia, it is sort of ridiculous because she only remembers the ban half of the time. I forced to kids to follow me on a directionless path around our neighborhood area. We ended up at the park to play. Everett earned a spectacular skinned knee after he biked through a muddy patch on the bike path. Some kind lady let me use her first aid kit to patch up his knee. I had to laugh watching him trying to baby his knee, then forgetting when he got too involved in a game or kicking a soccer ball. After lunch and naptime we headed over to Fat Cats. We played a rousing game of putt golf. Mostly the kids ran through in record time, finished in less than 15 minutes. The line for bowling was 90+ minutes long, so we let the kids play in the arcade area with the same amount of money we would've spent on bowling. The boys were so excited to play the Mario game. I helped the little girls around, sucking money down holes decorated with bright, flashing lights.  All together the kids scored enough tickets to trade in for a candy or two per kid. Best day ever for our 5 nerdy kids. I nursed a nasty migraine the arcade threatened to explode. Amelia taught a lovely FHE lesson followed with "glory!", playing a cat game, and raspberry shakes. 

The rest of the week seems off, I had to often reset my inner calendar to the correct day. Sometimes I question my own sanity. This week I questioned my sanity to buy a large used Barbie Dream House. It is huge. I made the kids go with me to pick it up after dropping Phillip off at Scouts. Evelyn was in heaven, seeing the house and all the accessories and furniture. The kids have played and played with it so far. Evelyn spends more time dressing up her dolls and playing Barbie than she ever has. For once she prefers to play instead of watching a show. I've played many rousing games of Elsa and Anna dream house than ever before. Once the older kids get home they played and played until I had to yell at them for homework or dinner times. 

 Wednesday a carpet guy came to give me an estimate to replace the carpet for the entire home and cover up the tile with laminate flooring. He brought along his little girl who immediately went to our newest toy. I immediately felt like this guy was going to be the one. The last carpet guy was sort of leerpy and gave me a really high quote. Carlos measured out the rooms and soon gave me an estimate of only $5,000 to replace the carpet and cover up the tile. When we got new flooring in Sidney just the top floor was $6,000. I was completely thrilled to get a decent quote, exactly the flooring I wanted and a company with really high ratings. I really hope the project turns out the way I hope it does. Most of all I am very excited for new carpet, the current carpet is awful. It is so stained that even after deep cleaning the house feels dirty, my eyes can't seem to look past all the stains. 

Evelyn insisted on "Rey hair" this week. Several days she sported three wonky buns on her head. Evelyn is my "Why?" child. As soon as we get in the van she starts gabbing, chatting away about nothing and everything. "Mom, why people have legs? why did God plant trees? why us have mouthes?" etc. We had to get some stuff from the Scout shop for Phillip's uniform. At the shop she asked the clerk, "why you a scout when you so old?! Scouts not old, theys 8 years old!"  

I had my first newborn session in Arizona! In December I bought a video course on newborn session flow and posing from Meg Bitton. Ever since I pined for a session to try out the training. Setting up was long and slow. Took me half of the day on Thursday to get the items I needed located, set up and planned for the next morning. I miss my space in Sidney, made it easy to get out and put away. Now I avoid my studio lights because it is quite the hassle. Since I had the mini-set out I nabbed Josie for 2nd birthday photos. She was not thrilled with my idea at all. Most of the time she whined and cried. I dressed her in pink frilly dresses with knee socks for two scenarios and in a white dress and a doughnut cake for another. She did not mind the doughnuts at all! The Payne family came over early Friday morning. They have two natural children (a 9 year old and the baby) and three adopted foster kids and another foster child. I think foster parents are amazing folks, especially these two parents. Brother Payne is a police officer. Hearts of gold right there! Baby Liberty did exactly what she should for a small, tiny baby. Session was done in less than two hours, including parent and sibling poses. I felt so alive and giddy the entire day and the day before. What a blessing for me! After school Amelia and I had optometrist appointments. My newest glasses broke last week, my old pair has no nose cushions so my nose skin is not happy. Taking 5 active children to a glasses shop was an experience I'd like to avoid in the future. Evelyn wanted a pair of purple glasses. She was not going to leave without them. I had to carry her out screaming and kicking without the purple glasses. Browsing for exactly the right pair is no longer in my scope at the moment. I grabbed a pair and hoped it would serve. Amelia got a cute pair of blue frames. All that excitement made for one tired Jenni after all was said and done. I was asleep before 10 pm that night. 

Phillip woke me up at 5:45 am on Saturday. He was breathing on my neck, trying to whisper that he slept all he could that night. He was dressed in his Scout uniform all ready for the derby. I sent him downstairs to read books and watch some TV until a more decent time to wake up. Instead he woke up Amelia and Everett. Grrrr. Later, Phillip and Justin worked hard to finish up his car. I found some dragon decals I knew Phillip would love. Amelia went to an American Girl doll book club meeting with some friends. I hear the girls made muffins and talked about the Grace book. Amelia's friend Chloe called while she was gone, Evelyn carried around Chloe chatting with her on FaceTime for a good 20 minutes. The car was finished. Phillip lovingly made a carrier out of an old egg carton. He checked his watch every few minutes, waiting, just waiting for 1:30 pm. I managed to get out and get some food shopping done with Evelyn. Rain started pouring down just as I exited the store. It was so nice and cold! Evelyn was quite happy with a dollar pair of fake glasses (with fake eyelashes) instead of pricey purple frames. The time rolled around to leave for the derby. Phillip was so excited and nervous all at the same time. We had to wait while another ward finished off their turn on the track. Phillip went to a separate room to make a "Driver's License" and work on some fun activities. He was the first boy to enter the cultural hall. As the boy's name and car were announced we could cheer as they took a seat, never saw that boy walk so quickly before! He was number 1! The rules were reviewed before the heat started. Phillip got to race first with three other boys. Each car was raced twice with all the other cars. The entire race only took about 10 minutes! I was impressed with the efficiency. Phillip raced his car frontwards and backwards, no matter the orientation, track, or opponent his car lost, earning a grand total of zero points! I think that must be a record. He was not at all set back but quite enjoyed all the excitement. He already has a plan for next year (so does Justin) to make a speedy car. The other kids could race whichever cars for a few rounds after the race was completed and scores tallied. Phillip was the only boy to earn TWO awards: scariest car and the Scout with the most Pride. The event was topped off with cookies and juice!  

Sunday late afternoon I heard back from the carpet guy about an installation date. He wanted to come around 10 am Monday morning. Right after a quick dinner we set about clearing out the main floor: toys, the food storage closet, knick knacks, etc. The more stuff we took out the better our house looked! I forget how cluttered it can get with toys, books, and games. The kids were gung-ho helping to clear out the food storage closet. They had a game/system of getting the buckets into the garage. They eventually finished the job even after Justin left 10+ buckets in the very back. Evelyn and Josie were in heaven playing with toys in the garage. So silly. I am so excited to get new flooring. Hooray for selling our Nebraska house. 

14 January 2018

First Day of Preschool















I thought Josie looked like an angel wearing a blue bishop collared dress last Sunday. She is Mr Grump Fish when it comes to taking photos lately. Probably because I take away her treasured binky for the occasion. Maybe it is time to work on weaning her of the binky! Her hair is so fine, with a spot of curl on the ends. Most of the time she is quite the angel so the dress was, sigh....heavenly.

Evelyn had her first week of Preschool. She was over the top excited to start school. By 7:30 am she was dressed and ready to go. She had to wait clear until 11:45 before we headed to Sonoma Ranch. Over the weekend she packed and repacked her backpack of first day supplies. She was very interested in the items we bought to restock the treasure chest, a reward given at the end of the school week. A freak rainstorm uncovered her lost tooth's hiding spot, course she had to carry that around to church, school, the store, and to the dentist. She was pretty excited the tooth was no longer in her belly. Before preschool started she had a fun time dancing in the waiting area with Josie. She practiced saying her teacher's name as well: Mrs Melicard, aka Mrs Melichar. When I picked her up Mrs Melichar said she had an amazing first day, fit right in with the other kiddos. Evelyn's face held a different story, she had her close to crying face on with a side of angry eyebrows. Later she told me she was mad that all her treasures for the box disappeared during recess. Ha ha! I should've anticipated that. The next day her teacher showed her where all the cool items were stored and when Evelyn could choose something. Mystery solved. She enjoyed getting ready and attending the next three days just as much as the first. Seems she even made some friends already.

Phillip got to bring a show-and-tell item on Tuesday. His teacher said I could bring his hamster, Cagey Barry Allen Call, right after I dropped off Evelyn at noon. Josie marched right into his classroom shaking the poor hamster about in a small portable pod. Mrs Epstein was quite happy I did not have to bring in the entire cage (me too). Phillip got to show each student his pet and answer questions about what he eats, his cage, his personality, etc. Phillip at school was a totally different kid than Phillip at home! He was quite reticent, a trait I never see. Seems Josie provided just as much entertainment as the hamster did. After school and homework Everett managed to amused Evelyn for over an hour playing Exploding Kittens, Candyland, Sneaky Squirrel, and Headbands. The kids are starting to play board games now once homework is completed. I love it. 

Wednesday morning I cut some oranges to for school snacks and lunches. Around that time Josie woke up and was sitting at the table eating a sandwich. Amelia and Phillip popped a cut orange into their mouths and showed Josie. The look on that kid's face was pure revulsion and horror. She reared her head backwards and shouted, "Noooooooo!" We had quite the laugh over her reaction. Wednesday and Thursday mornings we spent at the dentist's office. Wednesday I took the older kids in for routine cleanings and x-rays. Everett earned a satisfactory dental bill of health. Amelia and Phillip not so much. Amelia had mild gingivitis on her lower front gums and two cavities, on baby tooth riddled with cavity and a small cavity in a molar. She was crying, mad crying when I told her she had to come back and get fillings for her teeth. Phillip had one tiny surface cavity on a molar. I felt embarrassed my kids do not enjoy dental hygiene as much as I do. Heck, I brush and floss my dang teeth 2-3 times per day. I require them to brush twice a day but they must not be doing what I command. I got the kids new spinbrushes to aid in our new quest for dental hygiene. The next day we were at the office again getting those pesky fillings taken care of. Took over 2 hours for both kids to get the work done. I had the dentist put resin caps on their molars as well. After experiencing their first real dental work the kids are especially motivated to really take care of their teeth. Sometimes a bit of discomfort is a good thing. Warms my heart to see the kids invested in brushing and flossing. I am sure grandpa Lane would be extra proud. He still asks me if I floss my teeth...yes! Sir! Spending nonthreatening time at the dentist was a good thing for Evelyn after her trauma. Amelia was quite affected by the laughing gas. She was giggling at the movie Moana with the silliest laugh. Phillip did not even need numbing stuff, so his went fast. Once again our expensive girl needs a trip back to the orthodontist, her second bicuspid is trying to come in between her front tooth and first bicuspid. Sounds expensive.

Phillip was the star of our Wednesday. He came home from school and whipped out his homework. He finished it without help in less than 10 minutes. He helped me with Evelyn and Josie, playing with them outside. At dinner he asked to clean off the table and set it for dinner?! My mommy heart was exploding with love right about then. That act of kindness and service made my week the best ever.

We continued the trend of the week, missing morning school, with a Dr visit for Phillip on Friday. He needed a medicine check up for his ADD. I had a really hard time answering Dr Auxier's questions since I don't see Phillip in action while the medication is still working. His teacher is super busy so I don't always hear back from her in a timely manner. We got report cards this week, so based on that empirical evidence his grades seem much improved. We decided to increase his dosage another ml and see how it helps. In two weeks I am supposed to decrease by half and see if his teacher notices a difference. Evelyn and Josie looked cute wearing Minnie Mouse dresses they got from Grandma Debbie for Christmas. Several folks commented on how cute the girls looked at Walmart. Josie would tell the person all about "Mimmie Mou."

All the kids wanted to help me practice my photography skills. I bought two photography classes from the ever amazing Meg Bitton, one Newborn course and a Simple Studio course. The Simple Studio course is all about using a one-strobe set up, which I use on a normal basis. I practiced on the kids some posing and using my light. Meg teaches to place your light 8-10 inches away from your subjects face. It was tricky since my light modifier is a parabolic umbrella, the umbrella center sticks out right into my photo when placed that close. Josie was a stinker. The rest of the kids seemed to enjoy helping me practice. I'm working on editing them using her method, which reduces the dreaded banding I always get when photographing on black.

Amelia earned straight A's again this semester. Her AR (academic reading) goal was a total of 101%! Phillip earned mostly 3's, a couple 2's in math, and an assortment of S's, P's and an E. Everett's report card actually looked almost the same as Phillip's. Seems like report cards for 3rd grade and under are extraneous. Just a bunch of letters and numbers. The kids wanted pizza for lunch as a reward. So we went to the mall for lunch. After we let the kids ride the escalators as a reward for their good grades! A mall cop busted us for recreational usage of the escalator. We were asked to leave them alone or leave. Sad! Our free fun was cut short. I am still laughing about the whole escalator fiasco. The mall must have a camera pointed right at that area to prevent unauthorized usage of the stairs.

I saw a sign my house needs, needs desperately! Don't mind the mess. My kids are making memories...of me yelling at them to clean up the mess. We resembled that quote during our Saturday morning clean up. Justin is having a good time finding a new car to replace old Betty Blue. With our house deal closed and done we have a bit of wiggle room for things like a car payment and cross our fingers, new carpet. Our current carpet is the worst ever for a family, white beige. My favorite part on the carpet is a finely defined hand print courtesy of Evelyn, right in the middle of the living room area. Cleaning it is like throwing paper on a fire, I gave up, knowing brown variegated carpet is in our near future. Justin was disgusted with one car dealership who tried to over charge him $2000 on supposed taxes and fees. The car was not worth that price tag.

Evelyn's new nickname for Justin is: My B.F.F Man (marshmallow head). She pronounces BFF so funny, like Bee-eh-eff.

11 January 2018

New Years








Happy New Years! Welcome 2018! I am relieved to start a new year, seems like last year was a bumpy ride. While the learning curve is steep so is the discomfort. We spent most of the day with Justin sleeping on the couch. The family cold/flu finally caught up with him. Jacob Goddard spent the afternoon with us while his family went on a technically difficult hike. He made everyone origami boats! The boys spent a chunk of time playing with their nerf guns. I crack up each time I pass a window and find Everett deep in imaginative play with a weapon, dart, stick, etc. At 3:30 pm we packed up the kids for some playtime at the park. I had an engagement session while Justin managed the kids, more like herded cats. Sister Ferolino referred the couple to me, her sister's daughter! Turns out her sister, Eve, moved from Louisana recently. After chatting a bit we discovered Eve was in the same ward as Ashley Jarreau's parents in Baton Rouge! Ashely's brother was good friends with Eve's sons. Small world. I had a great time taking John and Arianne's engagement photos. We started our New Year with a break for mom from cooking. Cafe Rio tasted ever so amazing, most anything I don't have to make tastes amazing.

Tuesday was the day to undress the Christmas decorations. Seems like our house was in quite a mess for the rest of the week. I ended up buying a tree bag for the newer tree for the kid's decorations. I found a $15 tree at Goodwill for the kid tree. By Thursday the decorations were stacked in their place in the garage. This time I packed the boxes expecting the boxes to suffer through 115-120 degree heat come summer. A couple decorations actually glued themselves together during our move down. Amelia was quite the helper taking down most of the kid tree decorations. Phillip and Everett had items to pack away. By the end of the day the decorations were boxed up but the regular decor was scattered here and there. The kids spent the afternoon running a stuffed animal salon. Their game looked much more amusing than cleaning up Christmas.

Wednesday we took a break from our house. Amelia is turning into a teenaged bear, her attitude leaves much to be desired most of the time at home. She was good until after earning and then enjoying a special day out. I took the kids to Urban Jungle, an indoor trampoline recreational place. The line was crazy long, waiting for the line to shorten was something close to agony. By the time our turn came to pay the kids had a really good strategy in place to enjoy their 90 minutes of play. I had to buy socks, socks! Special socks the company requires, in my opinion just another way to make money. The toddler area was pretty fun. The little girls were quite amused for over an hour. Josie loved the merry-go-round. Both girls monopolized a slide area for the rest of the time. I barely caught glimpses of Everett. He was by far the most elusive of the older kids. Amelia and Phillip came to check in several times. The littles finally had enough of the baby area so we checked out the rest of the areas until our playtime was over. I had to laugh watching the girls in the ball area, stuffing balls in tubes like their lives depended on it.  Amelia and Phillip helped Evelyn around the other areas. The level of body odor was evidence of the fun had by all! We had lunch at a nearby McDonald since it was almost 1 pm.

Thursday was by far the worst day of our vacation. The kids were all ornery, I was ornery, and the house a mess. I asked for help cleaning up the family room and got blank stares from the boys and attitude from Mia. With my short fuse the situation escalated quickly to me throwing out Phillip's favorite toys and yelling. I hid myself outside to take a break and recover shreds of sanity. Sister Godard noticed me chilling outside, she came over to chat. The kids discovered my hiding place. I don't understand why kids have such a hard time understanding that cleaning the house is NOT my JOB. It is the responsibility of the entire family. I have a hard time getting my actual job of raising kids, I'm sidetracked by constant messes and clutter. Drives me nuts. Phillip and I apologized to each other and I gave him his monkey Cager back, with more chores to do for whining and procrastinating. Everett turned into the super helper child, he cleaned up things that did not need cleaning in an effort to stay on my better side. Mia just stayed ornery. By the time Justin got home I was a mess. Went to bed almost in tears.

Friday was the end of our Sidney chapter. We FINALLY closed on our 1209 19th Ave home. The 5th of January, 2018 was a huge day for us. After all the delays we both held our breath until the deal was finally wrapped up and tied. I am hearing all kinds of rumors about the troubles in Sidney, was almost certain the entire house deal would fall through. Phew. It's done and sold. The kids cleaned up their rooms after all the drama on Thursday. They enjoyed a morning with friends over for a couple hours. Phillip invited his friend Jonathon over and Mia had Chloe to play with. Chloe's brother, Ronald, stayed to play as well. All the boys had an epic Nerf war out in the back. Ronald pestered me off and on for hours about getting our wifi password. He was unwilling to do chores for that privileged, ha ha. Chloe and Mia babysat Josie while I went food shopping with Evelyn. A mean driver yelled obscenities at me in the walmart parking for driving my van the way I should, he was trying to drive his huge house boat like he owned the lot. After he was done being rude Evelyn yelled, "Mr, you need a nap!" Take that you meany pants! The girls sent me several texts while I was gone so random and hilarious: "Mooooooom, we're so bored we could die. iPad malfunctions. Could we uuuuuse shaving cream? Do wwwwwweeee have borrrrrax?" And lots of emojis. The girls made slime and a mess to accompany their art project. I did not mind, at least they were creatively involved and cleaned up their mess. Justin and I went out to dinner and a movie for our anniversary celebration. Laura and Spenser watched the kids for us at our home. What a relief to have the night off. We dined at Rodozio Grill, gorging on meat and Keto friendly food. Justin was quite happy it was bacon celebration week! We got tickets to see Star Wars again at a different theater. The theater was not busy...the reason was it is overpriced and messy. It cost more for two drinks than for a theater ticket. Silly folks. We walked around for 30 minutes before our movie, enjoying some time to talk and walk down our dinner. The movie was even better a second time. Justin even fell asleep!

Saturday morning we went to a Primary breakfast so the kids could meet their new teachers this year. The breakfast was at an outdoor pavilion with a firepit area. All the boys soon had large pieces of wood covering the firepit area. Why are boys so drawn to mischief? Evelyn's soccer cleats (her favorite shoes) were covered in mud which she smeared all over her seat area in the van. I got fed up with the dark blinds in the dining room area. My idea was to either spray paint the blinds or pasted lace in the windows. I tried the pasted lace first. Yes, yes, I am my mother's and Grandmother's progeny. The lace panel ended up a bit to small even after careful measuring and cutting. The paste (cornstarch mixture) was spotty and looked a bit crazy. Now my plan is to use some static cling panels that filter light. Even with the blinds down the area looks larger.

Melia and Matt Kelly are visiting the Phoenix area for the next week or so. They came over for Sunday dinner. Michael and Aislinn seemed quite happy to play with our kids. The kids made a loud boisterous group! I hope the Kelly's enjoyed their time here as much as we did. We heard first hand about their experience and escape from Puerto Rico and the hurricane that destroyed the island. We are loving all the family and friends who come visit us.

My heart is sad and happy at the same time. President Monson passed away this week. We will miss his dedicated discipleship to the Lord. I can only imagine his joyous reunion with his wife and loved ones in heaven. Around the same time Grandma Baerwaldt was hospitalized with a nasty flu virus, it almost undid her. Coming that close to death gave her a new lease on life. Dying is what she wants but is also quite afraid of it.

My 2018 goals:
lose 10-15 more pounds (water intake, eating healthy, adding exercise)
solve my low-energy and tiredness mystery (finishing the medications from Dr Godard, searching more avenues if still tired)
take several photography courses (video) to keep my skills sharp
work on improving my attitude at home, to not react negatively when I feel so tired

01 January 2018

Ft Verde, Montezuma's Castle, and Montezuma's Well





















Saturday we headed north to the Fort Verde area, south of Flagstaff. I was pretty excited to get out of our house for a day. The drive took about an hour and 45 minutes, not too far away! We stopped at the Fort first since it was closer to food for lunch. The docent at the fort passed out Jr Ranger papers for the kids to work on. This was our first attempt at the badges without the Lance cousins. Ft Verde was the base of operations for General Crook from 1870-1880, it stayed operational until 1891. The army's task was to place and keep Indians on the reservations. As the reservations were moved farther away the fort became obsolete. We toured the main museum first. The kids loved trying on period style costumes for fun. The fort was decorated up for Christmas so that was a fun plus. The other three remaining homes showed what family life was like for the general, what the bachelor quarters looked like, and the hospital area. We grabbed lunch then drove to see Montezuma's Castle.

The park containing the castle is well-paved and beautifully situated in a Riparian oasis. The coolest trees, Arizona Sycamore, has the most amazing skin of camouflaged bark. The trees were often used to support the cliff dwelling ceilings. The Sinagua Indians built and inhabited the castle nearly 600 years ago, using the dwellings for 400 years. I wondered how closely the cliff dwellings are to the Anasazi dwellings. I had to smile over Amelia and her tablet, taking dozens of photos searching for the perfect "sick" capture. Lots of peace signs were involved. Justin amused us all with his powerful binoculars. Phillip found a sycamore tree with a hollow depression, he immediately sat in it!

Josie fell asleep while we drove to the next spot, Montezuma's well, a few miles away from the castle. Justin stayed with her in the van while the rest of us explored the well. The well reminded me of the cenotes that dot Mexico. A constant current of fresh water leaks into the well and drains out of one side. Half of the well is covered with paths and vegetation folks can explore. Along the walls are burrowed Sinauga dwellings. Everyone had a great time running up and down the stairs. The boys had some game with exploding bombs going on. Once back on the well's rim we headed down the hill to climb more steps down to where the well emptied into Beaver creek. I bent over to check the water temp, my camera hood decided to also take a dip. Thankfully, the water current was not swift and the creek not to deep. I buried my arm to the shoulder to get the errant lens hood. Evelyn decided to rub dirt in her "hort" (aka wart on her hand) just so she could wash her hands in the water. The water felt lovely. Back at the van Josie woke up so Justin took the older 3 kids to explore the area. The girls and I stayed back, Evelyn's legs were not working by this point. The park was near to closing time we did not make it to Tuzigoot, an Indian pueblo not too far away.

What a fun day out hiking and getting to know our new area. I can check that destination off my bucket list now.

Sunday's music time was quite fun. The kids "popped" balloons with a Nerf gun to find songs they sung last year for their program. It was a fun review of the year's songs. New Years Eve was quite boring. We let the kids stay up until almost 10 pm playing games and watching a documentary on baby animals. New Years Day was just as boring. Justin was not feeling well so he parked himself on the couch for 6 hours napping and watching TV at intervals. I had an engagement photo session at Riparian Preserve. I convinced Justin and the kids to go hang out and play outside for a while. We had Jacob Godard with us as an extra diversion. During the session we figured out that Eve knew the parents of Sister Jarreau in Baton Rouge. They were in the same ward! Never imagined I'd meet friends of someone from Baton Rouge whose daughter I know from Sidney, NE...in Gilbert, AZ. Small world sometimes. We celebrated the New Year with dinner at Cafe Rio. Justin goes back to work tomorrow. He enjoyed quite a long vacation for only taking 4 work days off!

**a common annoyance we all share lately: Evelyn screaming and crying each time I park the van "Mom! Don't leave me! Don't leave me in the car!" You might think this is a common occurrence. It is not. I am unsure when and how she developed this fear. It grates on us all when she starts whining about being left in the van. Every. Single. Time.