24 November 2018

Gilbert Parade, Justin's Birthday, and Veteran's Day

I forgot to write about last week, it was quite a busy week (writing this a week later than usual). We enjoyed a nice Veteran's Day. Chloe and her brother Ronald came over for the day to play and hang out. We enjoyed a couple hours at Skateland for a morning activity. Chloe and Ronald were not so keen on learning to skate so they mostly just watched. All my kids except for Josie were out on the floor for hours honing their skills. We had our FHE lesson on Sunday night, we are trying that out in anticipation of the new curriculum changes. Learn the gospel on Sunday and play on Monday. Justin did not get home until after 8 on Monday so we did not get to the play part of FHE.

Tuesday morning I drove the kids to school with Gabi in tow to attend the Veteran's Day program. Amelia was performing with the school choir. All the kids came outside to the front parking lot shortly after the morning bell. We listened to some speeches, a poem, the Boy Scouts raised the flag and led the Pledge and Anthem, then we listened to the choir sing American Tears. Amelia had a solo part that she performed quite well! Josie amused herself climbing on some chairs set out for those interested. Right after the program I ran to Labcorp to get some blood drawn. That took another hour of my life waiting in a room with two active kiddos. We continued the torture with a trip to Kohl's, everyone was already tired so why not continue?!

Justin turned 43 on the 15th! He celebrated by purchasing a new smart watch to replace his old one. The kids were quite excited to singing Happy Birthday to Justin over the phone while he was driving to work. Josie, Gabi, and I met Justin for birthday lunch at a delicious Pho restaurant near his work. He celebrated by working overtime again and getting home just in time for birthday brownies.

Evelyn had us all laughing one morning. She was acting quite angry, when questioned about her behavior she told me about her dream the previous night. "I dreamed that Santa only gave me a rock for Christmas. You know, the rock that is black and means you are bad?! I feel so angry and don't want a rock for Christmas!" I die! So hilarious. Needless to say, Santa might just get her a black rock for kicks and giggles.

I spent a good part of the week culling and editing a photo session of a large family. She wanted candid and posed so the session ended up with 113 photos to be edited. Yikes. Took me all five afternoons, several nights, and parts of Saturday to finish up. I agreed to watch Miss Gabi for 7 hours starting in December from 9-4, M-TH. Lord help me!

Amelia got to march in the Gilbert Days Parade this year since she is in student council. Amelia wore the Stallion costume for the parade. She reported that it was hot, uncomfortable, and the last time she will parade around in a horse costume. Ha ha ha. Still, from our perspective it looked as though she had a good time. The parade route was a mile long of slow walking. Justin made sure all our bikes were ready the night before. We avoided all the heinous traffic by biking the two miles over to the parade route. We found an empty spot near a lamppost and settled in. A company a block down was handing out twisty balloons for free. The kids quite enjoyed their cool balloons. The parade was quite fun! Lots of marching bands, bag pipes, dance companies, and cool vehicles. Josie really got her groove on towards the end of the parade. She was joined by a lady dressed as Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy, Josie did not even notice for quite sometime that a strange green lady was dancing with her! She quite melted once she did catch on. After the parade we biked back home with our balloons trailing in the wind. The kids played with the hose while I cleaned out the bike trailer with the hose as I needed it. The trailer was quite disgusting, yuck. Our order of smoked shredded pork from the Boy Scouts arrived just in time for lunch. We snacked on smoked meat the rest of the day.

Sunday I was released from my calling as the Primary Music Leader and called to be the Ward Music Director. Pretty much I just have to wave my arm about during the hymns and enjoy the sacrament by my lonesome up on the stand! I might enjoy watching the circus down below with more delight than is proper. Ha ha! My turn to be alone on the stand after all these years.

15 November 2018

Queen Bee

Evelyn finally got to be the Queen Bee in her kindergarten beehive class. She's waited each week as patiently as possible, checking the newsletter each Friday hoping to read her name. She finally read her name! She spent the weekend decorating her "All About Me" poster. Monday she got to show off her poster, Wednesday bring her favorite book (Cinderella's Wedding), and Friday stuff the Bee Bag with show and tell items (Francesca, Sunny Days belt, and a Barbie).

I kept Evelyn home on Tuesday with a nasty cough and runny nose. Amelia stayed home for the same reason on Wednesday. We are going through the nasty coughs again. I gave all the kids lots of vitamin C and lots of Sambucol syrup (elderberry). I quite pleased that the syrup seemed to shorten their illnesses by a week or more. I'm adding several gallons of it to my supply.

We are loving all the new photos of baby Sasha, he is well-loved while living at Grandma and Grandpa's house until Jeremy gets back home from Jordan. Can't wait to meet Jana's new arrival this December.

Phillip decided to read his book about the eruption of Mt St Helens while singing the words to the tune of the Star-Spangled Banner. I did not catch on for quite some time, finally noticed he was singing the words to his book while blasting the music from the speaker. He gave me quite the impish smile when he noticed that I noticed! Tuesday he enjoyed an evening hike around the Riparian with his Bear Pack. He sure loves scouting. Phillip recently decided he loves Tapatio hot sauce. He puts it on almost everything. He likes the idea of hot sauce in his head. After dotting some sauce on his food he'll take a tiny bite, then swallow half a glass of milk...then throw away the rest of his food because it's spicy. I cringe each time he says, "please pass the tapatio?!" He made a nice Veteran's Day card for Grandpa Lane.

I cleaned out an entire van trunk load of toys and stuff from the family/play room. The kids came home to find some things rearranged. They still have not noticed how much I really got rid of. I also went through our books to pare down the numbers. Josie really had a great time playing with all the stuff I had piled together in the donate pile. She played and played until nap time. At one point she had on several necklaces, a tiara, two mismatched princess shoes, and a bag full of old cheap toys.

Friday evening Amelia and Brooklyn babysat the kids so Justin and I could go on another date! Wahoo! Cheap child labor. We settled on a restaurant downtown called Lo-Lo's chicken and waffles. It was so good. We had to walk around for an hour just to settle our tummies. Downtown Gilbert was alive and hopping! Good times.

Saturday morning Amelia had her first piano recital with Mrs Nurenberg. She's practiced her song about hundred times and had it memorized and perfected! She performed 4th and delivered a flawless performance! So proud of her. I love seeing her grow to love the piano. Justin headed outside with the rest of our crew until the recital was over. We celebrated Justin's birthday a few days early with lunch at Moreno's. I had another 2 mini sessions near late afternoon. We all headed to Riparian for a couple of hours. Justin hiked about and let the kids play at the park area while I worked.

Everett asks me everyday at 4:45 if I will play a board game with him. I have to defer him since that is dinner making time, the clean up time, then PJ time. If we get all the work done then I'll play games with him. We've played lots of Sleeping Queens and Clue the past 10 days. He sets it all up then guards the table so the little girls don't mess it up! 

Halloween Studio Photos

06 November 2018

Halloween 2018

We welcomed Halloween week on Sunday with a pumpkin carving session. This year our tools were pretty awesome, I got the next level of cheap kits. Ha ha ha. The kids enjoyed designing their own faces with a marker. I quite enjoyed that this year the older kids emptied their own pumpkin guts, especially enjoyed their silly faces. Both boys jumped right in and tried to carve on their own, they did quite well with a bit of guidance. After the pumpkins were carved the kids used an entire package of light sticks to make their jack-o-lanterns glow. In the line up from right to left we have happy face Josie, unicorn smile Evelyn, "E" for Everett face, Silly mustache pumpkin, and sleepy unicorn Amelia. They kids carried their cute creations outside and spent a good while chasing each other around the yard. 

For FHE on Monday we had a short lesson taught by yours truly. For activity Brooke delivered a box of freshly baked sugar cookies, tubes of frosting, and bags of sprinkles. Josie caught on quickly to the gist of decorating cookies! She piled about 2 inches of frosting on her one cookie with relish. Amelia showed off some seriously awesome designs! We dug into the cookies for our FHE treat as well. This round of FHE "glory" each kid earned loads of glory for earning amazing grades their first quarter. Amelia earned A's and one B! The other kids all earned in the top tiers number wise. 

Tuesday morning I had my photo studio set up in the garage for several mini sessions. I snapped some photos of Baby Gabi and the kids in their Halloween costumes as well. It's no small feat to set up the studio stuff. I am quite swamped editing a million photos right now. I hated to add so many new ones with all the canyon photos still on my plate. Such is busy season for photographers. I also committed to photograph another wedding come December for our Stake President's oldest son. 

Wednesday morning found us scrambling to get costumes on, hair curled, make up applied, and accessories located. I drove the kids to school so Josie and I could watch the Monster Mash parade. The kids all had the option to wear costumes to school then parade along showing off their costumes to those family and friends assembled along the parade route. Josie was so excited to wear her BATGIRL costume. We all got a kick singing, "do-do-do-do-do-do-do" Josie usually responded with a cute "batgurl." So much fun. After school the kids rested a bit then dove into their costumes for photos. Amelia and Phillip helped make pigs in a blanket for dinner while I worked on hair and makeup. We were all ready a few moments before six. Justin somehow made it home early enough to catch us in the driveway! I was not expecting him to get home until after 7, his new normal arrival time. Our ward hosted a block party, inviting anyone who wanted to join. We handed out candy while the older kids roamed the street and fun activities like fishing for prizes, face painting, movie, etc. I helped out with the face painting center after one of the ladies had to leave. Josie caught on to the candy craze faster than fast. She soon snatched candy whenever she could from an unattended bowl here and there. Amelia helped pass out candy so I could monitor Josie. Justin found Phillip manning the fishing activity without being asked. We headed home around 8 pm then walked around our block. I'd say half of our neighborhood houses were dark, the kids raced around to those with porch lights on. They scored big time since hardly any children were trick or treating on our street. 

Friday Justin spent the day at home. He worked in the morning on work stuff. Josie and I did our grocery shopping for the week while he worked. We enjoyed a lunch date at Outback. We were both disappointed in our meals. UTI celebrates Veteran's day a week early thus the reason he had the day off. Justin caught up on yard work during the afternoon. Isla and Brooklyn came over for the afternoon and evening to play. Evelyn wants to know when Isla can move into our house. She loves having a new best friend. The girls stayed over until after 7 pm. Amelia and Brooklyn were invited to play outside with a bike gang of some friends from school. Not long after they left Amelia came home crying with Brooklyn in tow. Some of the boys were using foul language and prank calling pizza stores. The girls settled on making friendship bracelets instead. Evelyn and Isla amused themselves hiding plastic Easter eggs filled with Barbie accessories for a couple hours. Evelyn came home from school stoked to finally be chose as QUEEN BEE for the coming school week. She could not wait to decorate her poster. She filled it with 5-year old scribbles with Isla helping out. During her reign as Queen Bee she can bring a poster about herself with photos, share her favorite book, and bring a short show and tell. She got up the next morning at 6 am ready to keep working on her poster. All weekend she talked incessantly about queen bees. 

Justin took the kids to Freestone park after lunch. He pumped up tires so they could ride their bikes! It is so lovely outside right now. I followed a couple hours later once Josie woke up. We passed each other as he was returning home with Evelyn (she had a potty accident) and I headed to the park for Josie to play. The older kids and Jacob were playing a game near the skate park. I checked on them several times as I moved from play area to play area. We enjoyed about 4 hours outside at the park! 

I ordered a home sleep study test, still trying to get to the root of my fatigue issues. Sleeping all hooked up with a nose cannula, chest strap, and finger oxygen monitor did not bode well for a good night of rest. Add in that Josie woke up twice and Evelyn joined us in the bed bringing her hacking cough along. I am so tired of being tired. I stopped the keto diet since it was not helping and causing my joints to hurt (gout is a common side effect).  I am floundering. My left eye is also giving me grief. A few times a week it starts to burn intensely for no good reason, maybe I am allergic to my mascara. I hate to give that up since I don't wear much make up to being with.