24 March 2019

Spring Break, Lances Visit, St Patrick's Day

We had such an amazing Spring Break with cousins visiting from Utah. The Lances drove in late Saturday night after a full day of driving and touring Montezuma's Well. James came down to help with the long drive. I hear snow made the drive down quite white-knuckled. We are happy they arrived safe and sound. The kids waited outside for hours until they finally arrived. Justin took the entire week off to enjoy at home vacation.

James flew back to Utah Sunday afternoon, they wanted to check out Tonto ruins as a family before he left, we only saw James for an hour on Saturday! The weather was cold and rainy for the first part of the week. Nebraska endured a terrible blizzard with 6 foot drifts and white out conditions. The weather pattern looked like a hurricane over land with the eye centered in Denver, Sidney got hit HARD. We got the tails of that bad storm down in Arizona! Not exactly the best way to celebrate Spring Break. Having cousins here made it all better. The kids enjoyed a day watching TV, playing games, and snacking. I taught 3 piano lessons toward the end of that afternoon.

Evelyn lost her first tooth, meaning she lost her first tooth naturally. She started screaming upstairs because she found blood on her tooth brush. I tackled her to the floor and quite literally did nothing to get that little tooth out. It fell out onto the tissue! She was quite surprised it did not hurt at all! The tooth fairy was quite confused and put her tooth money under Miekka's pillow and not hers! Silly fairy, Miekka was sleeping in Evelyn's bed! Evelyn quite literally moved into my bedroom. Saturday she moved in blankets, stuffies, books, three changes of clothes, and even a store of snacks in case she felt peckish during the night.

Our week of devotionals and Come Follow Me lesson was centered on the 12 Apostles. Tuesday for devotional we talked about people in our lives who made hard choices to join the gospel (how sometimes the gospel can be a sword and not peaceful). Miekka told stories about her Grandpa and Mom coming over from Holland. Everett asked if they came over on the Mayflower! Ha ha ha ha! We told stories about Grandma and Grandpa Baerwaldt and Anson Call as well.

Tuesday the girls enjoyed some time at the mall checking out Claire's, Disney Store, and Build a Bear. It was still drizzling but that did not stop the fun. Josie was quite taken with the princess crowns and fairy wands! I was anticipating a major tantrum but the older girls took so long choosing what they wanted to waste their money on she grew tired of the objects. Miekka and I threw away more money on cookies at Crumbl, a new cookie joint started in Utah. Huge, massive cookies in so many flavors. My favorite was the biscotti cookie. Fun times. Amelia and Lia babysat the younger kids while the older peoples went to watch Captain Marvel.

Wednesday the weather was partly cloudy, windy (yes, not breezy), and cool. It was nice enough that we made the kids go hiking to Lost Dutchman. The amount of whining was impressive but the parental figures were not deterred. Josie perched on my back for the hike up and on Justin's for the hike down. I could not believe the green landscape and blooming foliage as compared to when we hiked there in December, paired with the pretty clouds and blue sky...goodness, gorgeous vistas. Amelia took charge of my camera for a while. We made it halfway up the hill before we turned back. Josie took a short snooze on the hike back. Evelyn stayed with her best friend Miekka. She even conned Miekka into holding her purple purse! Not really, Miekka was being the nice aunt and asked to carry it. On the way back I had Justin stop at a rock store, I had a sudden hankering to crack open some geodes! I love spur of the moment excitement! Makes me feel giddy. Phillip and Everett accompanied me down to the store, we each picked a geode from a large bin. We paid by weight for the rocks. My geode has a pretty pink strip across the surface. We introduced the Lances to Gyros, they chickened out and ordered burgers or sandwiches. The rest of us enjoyed our gyros. At home we took turns cracking open the geodes. Phillip's had the most crystals and color variation. Everett's was quite dark and really set off the crystals, he had a streak of pink in his as well. My geode was the hardest to crack...probably because it was completely solid. After researching, turns out the pink strips indicate a solid (younger) geode! Miekka decided to extend their visit a couple days...had to experience some of our amazing weather.

Thursday we opted to tour Tuzigoot. The drive up was slow due to an accident. We relished the long moments to admire all the wild flowers sprouting up along the freeway medians. Amelia got quite carsick in the Lances van. The kids (except Mia) completed their Junior Ranger programs. Josie and Evelyn lucked out with a simple 6 item checklist! Tuzigoot is a site showcasing a 110 room pueblo perched on the spine of a ridge. A small museum contains many artifacts discovered while excavating the pueblo. We got to hear a tour guide tell his stories as we walked about the Pueblo. We had pizza dinner at Costco. It was Pi day after all! Not to outdo the pizza we got a couple pies for dessert! No better way to celebrate Pi day than with pizza pie and dessert pie.

Friday we headed to Riverside park for a morning of fun in the sun. The crazy Calls just had to enjoy the splash pad. It was not terrible warm especially with that nice breeze. Still undeterred the kids all got quite soaked...and loved every moment. Evelyn rode her balance bike through the spray! Josie was by far the silliest, she reminded me of a little robin hopping about in the rain. She was content to dry off after her lips turned blue. Seth and Jacob followed her about the park. The last time we visited that park half of it was under construction, thankfully the park was completely open! I really wanted to introduce the Lances to Sonoran hotdogs at our favorite Mexican haunt. They weren't terribly impressed with the cheap hot dogs. Bummer. Miekka and I fit in a fun afternoon thrifting at several stores close by. I totally lucked out at Goodwill with summer dresses, blankets, and books. Dinner was a fun affair outside around the fire pit. We roasted hot dogs for dinner and enjoyed S'mores for dessert. YUM! Vader was quite excited with all the food we had down at his level. After clean up we enjoyed several games at the dinner table, Sushi Go!, Slamwich, and Yahtzee. Things got a bit rowdy during Slamwich. That game is fast and loud.

As a last hoorah we had a picnic lunch at Riparian with cousins. Talk about a gorgeous day! Perfect weather. Bee Bop (aka Jacob) and Sesie (Seth) are by far Josie's favorite people, at least this week. She had those boys following her every whim...either that or the boys were bored. Miekka and Lia made matching t-shirts for Amelia and Lia. The girls looked darling together! The rest of our Saturday was quite boring, missing family and wanting more. 

Sunday was St Patrick's Day. The boys woke up at 7 am to rush about all the rooms exclaiming over what items they thought the Leprechauns had moved during the night. "Everett! I think the Leprechauns put my shoes in the strangest place! (laughter)" Soon all the younger kids were laughing about silly things the Leprechauns may or may not have arranged. Any day to wear green is my favorite day! Josie's hair is finally long enough for a ballet bun. I put dangling earrings in her ears just for kicks and giggles. She made us all smile with her cute preening as she admired her bun and ears. After church we came home to find the leprechauns had visited for real! The little stinkers turned our milk green, left green footprints and green color on the potty, tied up their animals, and perched kermit on the ceiling fan! For dinner we had corned beef, roasted potatoes, roasted veggies, and a half-baked soda bread. My oven turns baking into guess work, I can never bake anything correctly...either over or under done in a matter of minutes. We enjoyed the bread crust! Ha ha ha. Grandpa and Grandma Call sent a box of European candy and chocolate they scored while visiting Germany and France with Melissa. We LOVED the gummy pigs, those were amazing. Justin manned the spinner during a rousing game of "The Floor is Lava" after dinner. We have quite a few fun games in our closet right now. The cousins hated Life so that game was not played. Right around bedtime I got a message from a former mission companion. She was visiting Gilbert to see her mother. Within 10 minutes she was at my house with another one of my companions! I was thrilled to visit with Amy (who lives 10 minutes away) and Tiffany! We had so many stories to swap in the hour we had available. My heart was overfilled with joy! I love those two gals more than cake. Amelia missed their visit, she was overtired after a week of cousins and sleeping on the couch so went to bed early.

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