29 September 2019

Rain! Please Stay!








Phoenix caught the tail of some tropical storms in the gulf and southern California on Tuesday and Wednesday. Amelia woke up on September 25th to find the streets flooded and rain sheeting down! She went out for a morning frolic before getting dressed for the day! We had sporadic rain the remainder of the day. We heard about severe flooding in other parts of the city, as well as other parts hit harder with rain. The kids were thrilled to play in the flooded gutters until the rain stopped. All day we passed by parks flooded with a couple feet of rain! Times like that I wish we had a fun inflatable canoe to play with. Josie crooned over her pink pony rain boots, she wore them the rest of that week! Everett took a spin around the neighborhood on his bike spraying water every which way.

Phillip and Evelyn finally had their well-child visits a month post birthday. Phillip weighs 84 lbs, 80.2 percentile, measured 54 inches (39.1%) on the 23rd of September. Evelyn weighed 47 lbs (61.2%) and measured 42.5 inches (7.2 %). Both are meeting all their benchmarks and appear completely healthy! I asked for a refill of Phillip's dyanavel medication, Dr Auxier is away serving a mission, maybe retired for good. The new pediatrician revealed that the price for that medication had skyrocketed, indeed at the pharmacy it was $60 compared to $20 I paid a couple months ago. Some folks are paying up towards $300/mth. He suggested we try Adderal instead, it comes in capsule form and has the extended release. The price tag of $5 was hard to resist. We decided to try the new stuff and monitor his sleep and loss of appetite. Evelyn hid under my chair most of the visit. She was scared of a shot. I ended up having the kids get a flu shot, phew, the crying was terrible. Phillip handled it like a champ, the girls, that was not fun.

Thursday was a crazy, crazy day for me. Right after student drop off at the MEC (Montessori) I parked the van and went in to Evelyn's classroom. Evelyn sweet talked her teacher into having me come in with my rock collection. The kids went outside for a school photo while I set out and arranged the rocks on little placemats. I had a lovely time showing off my grain grinder rock, my geodes, and valuable (memorable) rocks. Josie found a barn and animals that kept her occupied! So my fun questions from all the students. Right after that I raced home to fold laundry before the boys got home at noon. It was parent-teacher conference so the boys had half days. Right after lunch and putting Josie down I went to visit with Mrs Sanders and Ms Nyugen. Sanders had Phillip last year, she made the comment that two brothers could not be more different! Phillip was calmer and plodded his way through his work, Everett is more emotional and get stressed out, needs more guidance. So true! Both boys earned good marks, the elementary schools don't use grades anymore, just the number system like the lower grades use. Everett comes with the best writing ideas and makes us all laugh with his stories. Ms Nyugen said Phillip is a delight, so friendly to everyone. He gets the best ideas for his writing projects as well. Good job BOYS!!!! Raced home to teach piano, make dinner, and clean up a bit. At 7 some ladies met at a French cafe to celebrate Kristin's new baby boy on the way! I quite enjoyed a spot of friend time.

Mia needed some candy for a science project starting on Monday. We headed to Winco's candy bins to stock up on colored taffy. Mia's group had to make an example of plate tectonics. Stinkers, they chose the most expensive medium, why not salt dough. Josie saw the glowing lights of the temple, started singing "I love to see the Temple!" Why the heck not?! We drove to the temple and walked around the grounds. The little girls were thrilled with the experience.    

Justin had a motorcycle skills class early on Saturday. He learned techniques to hone his city driving skills. He hoped for a better discount on insurance than the 3% that class earned him. Maybe, maybe? He will start motorcycling to work. I cleaned out and straightened up the garage. Ronald came over to play Minecraft with Amelia. The boys and Evelyn were at the church to practice for their Primary Program.

25 September 2019

Down the Rabbit Hole





Amelia had a fun homecoming week at school. Homecoming theme was Alice and Wonderland. The kids were allowed to dress down for the week according to the theme. Her favorite day was Tuesday, Mad Hatter's tea party, dressing crazy. I hear most student wore mismatched socks, not my girl! She went full out crazy for the event. Mia stayed home sick from school on Monday, seemed more like a mental heath day than a sick day, you need those once in a while. She worked on her assignments as they were posted on Google Classrooms. She did not have much work to catch up, thank the good heavens for that. We were totally lame and missed the homecoming game along with all the school party events (Bread Bowl). Amelia went to Ruby's birthday/pool party instead on Friday night.

We are quite enjoying the temperatures, it's crazy to think that 95 feels cool! In Nebraska that was a HOT day, my kids wore jackets to school! The mornings are in the 70's now, which is a blessed relief.  The kids get to play outside, we're back to walking around the block while Josie drives like a drunk driver on her Princess carriage. I should plant my winter garden, can't seem to get my bum in gear. I should paint my cupboards too, same reason my motivation is about level 2. Lately, I've become concerned about our future. I don't have a skill set to support the family if Justin ever got laid off or unable to work. The Personal Finance class has promoted those feelings to the forefront of my mind. I could go back to school and get a counseling or social work endorsement which would make it easier to get a job. I just don't know what I want to do when I grow up, a real dilemma.

Thursday and Friday we all chipped in to get our house cleaned up. Thursday we worked on the upstairs cleaning bedrooms and bathrooms. Friday, I cleaned up the main floor, I especially focused on the kitchen and floors. I made a few dozen soft dinner rolls on Friday as well. I went on a bread kick, made cinnamon rolls as well on Thursday. Justin needed a birthday treat for someone he ministers too! It's been years since I last made cinnamon rolls. Yum. Friday evening we had a few families over for a fun get together. Ashley organized a rotating dinner group once a month just for fun! I got to host the first party! Our menu was salads and fresh rolls. I made a divine steak, potato, and blue cheese salad for my contribution. We enjoyed a grand old time, spent most of it in the backyard. Phillip mowed the lawn for me (all by himself!) in the back so we could enjoyed the grass. Dog Vader decided I was worth peeing on while I sat eating my dinner on the grass with Evelyn. I smacked that dog on his rump. Josie asked me for a full hour why I hit her lovely dog. Stupid dog, don't pee on humans, there are trees and rocks all over our yard. He about went to a new home that night. He peed on my shirt and down my butt crack. Gross.

Saturday we did not have to clean much since the house in a decent shape! Amelia worked on a school poster for Latin. She had to make an advertisement one of the gods might have. She advertised Hestia's eternal fire starters, like a lump of coal that is portable and can start fires when needed. Pretty clever! Amelia and Evelyn spent a few hours at Isla and Brooklyn's house. Justin worked on the budget. We are using Mint, mostly spent the time entering in data and reclassifying expenditures. I did not do much except stare at the back of his head. After Josie went down for her nap Justin and I went for an endowment session at Gilbert Temple. I love that we can pull up family names from FamilySearch and get our family names done. I am most pleased to report that my eyelids stayed open the duration of the session. We stopped for a delicious ice cream treat, Prickly Pear ice cream with lime dip at Topo. It was quite delicious. I loved the dip, Justin loved the ice cream. Thanks to the kids for the time to serve in the temple.

The kids love to play with this blue rope Phillip got who knows where. They tie the rope to the long board or dump truck then send it down the driveway. With the long board the kids play mail delivery 1 with the dump truck the kids play mail delivery 2. They are often engrossed in that game for lots of minutes. One person pulls the person sitting on the long board to the top of the driveway, or something inside the dump truck. I am most tickled that Amelia plays with the kids! I love that she still loves playing imaginative games with her siblings.

22 September 2019

Time to Blossom and a Gorgeous Rainbow






Evelyn decided she was sick, last week Everett stayed home two days and slept in until after 10 most mornings. He catches terrible coughs and cold, speedy style, coughs all night robbing him of a good night of sleep. Evelyn was the next culprit. Mostly, she enjoyed a couple days of mental health days home. Her main complaint was a runny nose and silly frog voice. Evelyn was thrilled to finally go grocery shopping with Josie and I. She finally scored a lunchable after months of begging for one.

I am working on Evelyn's baby book and the latest blog book edition in the afternoons during nap time. I finished both books on Friday. Now I just need to wait for a sale from Blurb to happen! I've had no business in a month, it's nice to relax and focus on other things. Since I still have time maybe I should start on Josie's baby book and get the next blog book up to date, sometimes the books get overwhelming.

The little girls started a game of Cinderella. I discovered the game when large patches of water showed up in random spots on the flooring. They would take turns wearing Cinderella's working dress and sopping water about with a rag and water in a bowl. As one cleaned the other sister would morph into Cinderella wearing her ballgown. I got a cleanish floor from that game! Josie started singing "sing sweet buttcheeks" instead of "sing sweet nightingale." Evelyn is rubbing off on her!

Friday Mrs Sanders invited me to her classroom to show off my rock collection! This time I added in the geodes we cracked open last March when the Lances were here to visit. Everett was thrilled to help me set out the rocks and walk around the room to show off some of my ultra cool rocks. Josie stole the show when she started singing "sing sweet nightingale, sing sweet butt cheeks" to the tune in Cinderella. Josie found her Skye watch towards the beginning of the week. She wore that huge watch on her wrist most of the days, I'd hear snatches of the PAW Patrol drifting about the house at all odd hours...even the middle of the night. It was my week to carpool the kids to and from school, some weeks the stars align so one has to drive morning and afternoon. Friday afternoon went by too quickly, and suddenly I was wondering where Evelyn was. Shoot, my turn to pick up and a close encounter with Josie poop and too much crazy helped me forget my duties. I had to pay $20 for after-school care for my faux pas.

Amelia and I quite enjoyed a lovely weekend at the Time to Blossom Conference. Justin came home a bit early to stay with the kids while the girls went to play. We joined up with AJ and Stella Packard for the conference. We kicked off the conference with a girls dinner at Zupa's. The conference was held at the interstake center near the Mesa temple complex. Friday evening we were entertained by Brooke White from American Idol. She told her story about her experience with American Idol. We heard her testimony, she was selected because of her gorgeous voice and her response "I've never seen an R-rated movie" on the show's paperwork. She is releasing her first country album the first of October! We broke for a snack of popcorn and fun soda mixes. Brooke ended the evening with a concert, she even sang a couple songs from her new album.

Saturday we were back at the stake center by 9 am. Sister LaBarr and Jackson started off the morning performing Amazing Grace on piano and violin.

Brooke: Anxiety and the Atonement. I loved her advice to get silly when things get tough, often that attitude of silly will vent most anxieties. We are all professional humans! Interrupt anxiety with gratitude.

Becky Proudfit: Social Media and Divine Identity. Social media will never give you an identity, worth, love, acceptance, or value. Those things come from righteous living, from knowing who you are.

Jamie Hutchings: Surviving Life's Bubbles. It's OK to not be OK! We are all broken, that's how the light gets in. We are going to have to fight for the privilege to be at His side.

Laura Solorzano: Remarkable Now. This is exactly what you prayed for but not what you expected! 10 things to become remarkable. 1. gratitude 2. positive affirmations 3. mirror exercise (tell self you love self) 4. pray to know you're remarkable 5. immerse in Bof M 6. service 7. limit social media 8. read patriarchal blessing 9. read teachings of modern prophets 10. stillness
She shared this quote from President Nelson's IG account.

Great power lies in learning who you really are. Please take time to think prayerfully about these facts:

You are an elect son or daughter of God.

You were created in His image.

You were taught in the spirit world to prepare you for anything and everything you would encounter during this latter part of these latter days. That teaching endures within you!

Learn for yourselves who you really are. Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. Record those impressions and review them often, and follow through with exactness.

I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!

Last speaker was Lisa Funk, she taught a class on Mindful Lettering! We got to learn faux calligraphy.

The conference was a fun time to share feelings with our cute daughters. We got to dance, eat yummy treats, listen to uplifting speakers, and feel lovely feelings. I'm glad Amelia had Stella to pal around with as well. We walked a block to Moreno's for lunch. So yummy, I had ceviche tostada and a shrimp cocktail, such a light and delicious meal. Amelia was so excited to try the fried ice cream Cari Sue ordered.

We arrived back home around 6 pm. Justin reported that Josie pooped in her undies while they were out for lunch at Del Taco. He made her wear the sticky mess home, gross. I jumped right into dinner prep. Evelyn excitedly ran in to tell us there was a crazy awesome rainbow outside. We all dropped everything and ran outside to admire the gorgeous apparition until the sun set. The rainbow was a full one with a triple reflection!

Sunday I had a special photo session with Bishop Guerdian's family. He has two married daughters who are making their ways in life, one is moving to Abeline, TX. Their other unmarried daughter is headed to Greece for a service opportunity. All the changes happened in less than a couple weeks, they needed photos before the kids dispersed. We enjoyed a warm evening out at Lost Dutchman State Park. In our finance class this Sunday we discussed budgeting, ended with the challenge to create a budget.

12 September 2019

Earning Elsa Doll






I had big plans to venture out and explore Slide Rock, AZ for Labor Day. The rest of the family had big plans to be lazy, they won (this time). We rested and cleaned in the morning. Justin took the older kids to Mesquite Groves pool in the afternoon while Josie took a short nap. I met them there around 3 pm. Josie is developing quite the little personality. She is determined to dress herself, do potty alone, choose her outfits and shoes, and all her activities. So many opinions suddenly developed in less than a month! We loved the pool time with Justin in attendance. After swimming we stopped at Bahama Bucks for a cold treat. The boys played battleship for the first time. Phillip cheated and never put his ships down, moved the ships when a hit was imminent.

Josie adores going to her class most mornings at the gym. I did not think she would love it as much as she does. Her favorite activities are playing outside on the bikes and the cars with the big eyes. I sweat my eyeballs out for an hour. After a few weeks now of intermittent fasting and exercising I hoped for some progress. Dang it! Nothing. Still weigh the same. On a positive note, I can still do the splits. Ha ha ha ha.

Phillip spent a good hour converting Clue into Guardians of the Galaxy Clue! He replaced the tokens for Lego figures and the weapons for more appropriate Galaxy weapons. We played a game or two, he won both games (mostly because he withheld cards when he should've shown them). One night last week Jacob, Phillip, and Everett had a rousing game of Pokemon after dinner. I sure enjoy listening to the boys work together and play. Everett is mastering his piano assignments, he practices several times each day! After a couple days he is ready to move on to the next pages. Phillip is actually the better player but will not practice so is quite a ways behind Everett.

Josie finally earned her Elsa baby. She worked all day Thursday trying to listen to her body and poop in the potty. Around 4:30 she finally did the dastardly deed. She was on cloud 9 to FINALLY earn that baby doll, I guess a week seems like an eternity at 3.5 years old. She's since put her poops in the potty...at least for the remainder of this week. The next morning we went for a spot of shopping to pick up an embroidered jacket (with GCA logo) for Mia I ordered like 2 months ago. Next to that store was a Goodwill and on the other side a ReStore run by Habitat for Humanity. Josie found a toy chair that folds into a bed. We are all laughing over her antics with the couch thing and her Elsa baby. She's taken to watching TV with her couch and sleeping with her Elsa doll on the couch at night.

Justin stayed home from work on Friday. He worked from home until noon then ran errands in the afternoon. The restoration crew finished painting and trimming off the work upstairs! Now we are just waiting for carpet next week...more like the week after. I think the paint fumes and a slight cold caused a very nasty migraine. Oh man, I was in dire straits. Justin stayed home so I could attend the RS retreat up at the Wolford's cabin. I ended up staying home instead. He still made dinner and watched the kids. At one point I came home to find Ronald and Phillip had smashed a block of plaster of Paris in the sidewalk and street with hammers and even a crowbar! There was chalky stuff for a good 10 foot radius. Justin told those boy a solid "no" when they asked to extract the gems. Cheeky buggers. They missed part of dinner cleaning up the mess with a vacuum. I spent a couple hours with a small group of ladies who could not go up to the retreat due to nursing babies. I'm not in the nursing category but those were some exciting hours of mom talk (Ashley Boyle, Brooke LaBarr, Kelly Roberts, and Caitlyn Kleisler). I got home near to midnight, Justin let me sleep in to rest my pounding headache on Saturday.

Justin and I are quite enjoying the Finance class. I was more than a little resistant, but the program is truly inspired. So far nothing required is over the top or unexpected. Next week is budgeting, which could create a bit of tension since I hate the idea, but seems like it is finally time to put on my big girl pants. We had Call family dinner at our house this month. I made chicken Tikka Masala and rice pilaf, the others brought raita, naan bread, and lentil stew. That was a delicious dinner. We celebrated 4 birthdays for September, Spenser's three girls and Tyler's belated birthday. Laura tried to teach me how to correctly dutch braid hair, that was hard to retrain my hands, turns out I need more practice than I realized. If only I had a willing daughter to practice on. 

02 September 2019

Evelyn's Birthday













And that concludes the kid birthdays for the year. Phew. Justin finishes the birthday run in our family come November. Evelyn finally turned 6 on Tuesday. She's waited 364 days to enjoy her day again, that's a long wait when you are five. August is by far our most popular month for birthdays, 3 in one month is nothing to sneeze at.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Moreno's to celebrate Phillip and Evelyn's birthdays. The kids go crazy over the fresh cucumber slices and avocado sauce, this time around the sauce was quite spicy. We made up for at least 80% of the noise inside the restaurant. That was our FHE as well since we combined our Come Follow Me on Sunday for a longer lesson knowing we would miss Monday's devotional. We did have a talent show on Monday after we got back. Our lesson was on the gifts we have that come from God. Justin was a goober, so cranky tired, he would not even give us a Kermit the Frog impersonation. Our talents went accordingly: Josie danced to Let it Go (got adorably shy at the end), Evelyn danced to a song (I managed the black light as her effects), Everett played piano, Phillip showed off some karate moves, Amelia performed a dance routine, and I recited some Shel Silverstein poems. So fun!

Tuesday was Evelyn's big huge birthday day. I am quite surprised she was not up pestering me at 5 am. I sent her off to school with a promise to come back in a few hours. Josie and I picked up some (gross) Walmart cookies that Evelyn insisted upon for a class treat. Josie picked out two balloons and a lollipop for Evelyn. We delivered the cookies then took Evelyn out for a special lunch. Before and after school she asked me about 40 million times about opening her gifts. I was a sweaty mess making rainbow spaghetti carbonara. It took bacon cooking in the oven and 5 pots of boiling colored water to make that dish, all with no air conditioner running, I was dripping sweat. I took a portion of our meal to a family in our ward. Quite honestly, I was embarrassed at my lack of preparation and the lame meal I delivered. It was a crazy, busy day for me with piano lessons, a sick Everett, wrapping gifts, running errands, and Evelyn's birthday. My family half ate their dinner in the van as we headed to Skateland for Evelyn's school party there. Evelyn brought a gift to open at the skating rink. Justin met us at the rink, got there before we did and skipped the long, brutally hot line outside the building. We enjoyed an hour or so of skating. Josie surprised me by actually skating around the rink 20+ times. Josie skated more than Evelyn did! Justin took Evelyn and Amelia home early because Amelia had some unfinished homework to complete. At the end of our session the kids were allowed to run on the rink floor with socks, that was a fun highlight for the boys and Josie. It was still 110 outside at 8 pm, boo hoo. Evelyn was not so patiently waiting for us to get home. She ripped into her gifts, FINALLY. I punked her by wrapping small gifts in large boxes. She got a Fuzzy Pet (LOL toy), Hairdorable doll, and drumroll...her OWN kindle. Thank goodness for Amazon sales. She was thrilled to get a Kindle! I told her that was a big gift that would have to wait for Christmas sales. Lots of happy faces from our Spicy pizza girl.

Everyone washed their cars on Wednesday, must have because we finally got a smattering of Monsoon rain. The lightening was so fun to watch. Josie was impressed and scared at the same time, she seemed to enjoy the show outside with Justin and I. Evelyn was cowering between my legs in a ball of scared little girl. The rain was not sufficient enough to wash off the bird poo on the van. The older kids enjoyed a half day on Wednesday. They were all home, with Chloe as well, in time for lunch at noon. I went grocery shopping alone for the first time in forever. Evelyn was gifted an hour of device time to try out her new Kindle after school.

My right ear was all stuffed up Thursday and Friday. I could not hear a thing out of that ear plus my balance was completely off. I'm glad nothing was hurting, but the vertigo was disconcerting. Still, I soldiered on and got things done. Josie and I went to Dollar Store in search of party favors for Evelyn's Fashion Show. I am in my third week of intermittent fasting, no progress yet. I should see some results since I am exercising 4-5 times per week. This is the cheapest diet ever and ever so easy! Just don't eat, and when you do eat make it healthy.

Friday was a busy day for our family. We cleaned up a bit Thursday evening. I spent the morning cleaning and setting up for Evelyn's party. Right when I returned home from dropping off kids to school I found the ATI Restoration guys there ready to start the drywall. The guys were working from 8-1 on the drywall and prepping the rooms for the next steps of mud, tape, paint, and trim. We are happy to have the hole patched up, visions of scorpions dripping from the ceiling made me uneasy. Evelyn invited over 8 friends, two older siblings showed up for the fun as well. At the last moment two girls stayed home due to tummy flu. Amelia, Chloe, and Zoe did most of the work for the rest of the party! I tasked the girls to do hair, make up, and nails for the Fashionistas. After the girlies got all dolled up we headed to the runway for some photos. Amelia started some fashion show music and the show was on! Each girl took several turns walking the "cat walk." So fun. Thank goodness for the older girls, they shouldered the task to amuse the littles for the next hour with art projects (glitter included), play dough, and marble runs. We had sloppy joes for dinner. Opened gifts, more play, and then the ever so fun cake. I made a delicious cake. My delicious cake flopped in the oven, stupid pan. I can never remember that I really need to bake one portion at a time because the cupcake pan does not bake evenly. I cheated with a store made cake, the kids don't eat it anyway right?! Evelyn spread mischief by blowing handfuls of glitter on the boys, little stinker. Party was over at 6:30 pm, Isla and Taylor stayed until 8-9 as an extra bonus. They gave each other make overs, played with Barbies, and used Evelyn's gifted pedicure kit. Evelyn told me her party was sooooo booooooring halfway through her party. She also told me her school teacher would make a better mother. I try not to take her comments seriously. One moment she is gushing with love, the next spewing whining words.

Evelyn blindsided me this week. She said, "Mom, I hate myself. I am ugly!" I almost panicked. What kid has a complex at age 6? Turns out Evelyn just wants to wear make up all the time because she is prettier with make up. Still I worry about her self image, she's too young thoughts like that.

The kids got to spend the afternoon with friends on Saturday. Amelia and Evelyn went to the Emmert's home (Zoe and Taylor). I took the boys to play with Anson and Gary for a couple of hours. I did a spot of thrift shopping just for the heck of it. I found a cute outfit for Amelia, she wore it on Sunday.

Josie is driving me crazy this week. Tuesday I had a Ministering Interview, at the house was a playroom with an Ariel baby doll. Josie and Hannah fought like cats over that doll. Josie got in her mind that she needed an Elsa baby doll, all of a sudden her Aurora doll was not cutting it. She cried for three days, whining about the Elsa baby. "Mom, where my Elsa baby? I can't find it. Go to store and buy me one." Nope, nope, nope. She is still pooping her pants so I told her no Elsa baby until she puts poop in the potty. I actually found an Elsa baby at Deseret Industries for $2, she was thrilled until I took it away once we got home. It's been a week now, no Elsa baby for Josie. I think she gave up, "poop is too scary, pee-pee is fun" potty training according to Josie. She whined for days about that doll, the entire family was tired of her pleas. We did not give in, no never.