09 August 2019

Back to School 2019
















Can I just write how grateful I am for the Come, Follow Me program? It is challenging to round up our 5 kids and study the New Testament. Half the time we're yelling, crying, complaining, etc about our time at the temple table. BUT then, you look back and see how much we've changed. I feel like I'm climbing out of an abyss. I love listening to certain podcasts, related conference talks, and simply reading the scriptures. We are learning to have discussions as a family. It is amazing.

Monday for FHE Justin gave us all Father's blessings before the first day of school. There is great comfort in watching Justin's voice and words change as he gives each blessing, those words are directed to each one of us personally. I even got a blessing! Heavenly Father loves us all so individually and deeply.

My nerves were frayed to the max after school supply shopping. Amelia and Chloe took Evelyn's list and got her stuff. I helped the boys with theirs, it was constant bombardment of "Can I get this? or That?" Evelyn was bawling because she did not want to start school, it's booooooring. Everett was mad I would loan him $40 to get a science kit (we already have one at home). The older girls were goofing off being 12 year olds with a little freedom and a phone in the shoe aisle. I drowned my nerves in plain tap water at home, wishing it was an ice cold Diet Coke. I photographed a lovely family sending off two girls for missions in Canada and NC. The kids all squabbled and teased just like a normal family.

Amanda, Chloe and Ronald's mother, invited us out to breakfast as a thank you for watching her kids quite a bit this summer. I hope we did not overwhelm her! Josie totally ignored her pancake, said it looked yucky. Mia and I ordered lemon pancakes, which were sorta good. Chloe and Ronald's dad showed up towards the end of breakfast. That was quite awkward since he recently divorced Amanda and remarried another gal in Vietnam. We are practicing getting up earlier each morning until we are getting up at 6:15-6:30 am. That's early after my summer of sleeping in until 8 am. All things come to an end. Ryan and Addison came over afterward until 1 pm while Stephanie went to college orientation. Evelyn decided she does not like Addison at all. Little stinker was screaming and yelling at poor Addison, Addison dished it right back which made Evelyn steaming mad. I found her a play date with Alta just to get her away from Addison. Amelia had taken to designing Gotcha Life outfits in her design notebooks. She's created some pretty cool outfits. I took the boys and Josie to get hair cuts before the first day. I struggle at hair cutting! Once in a while the boys need a professional cut that I try to maintain until I can't anymore. I had the stylist cut 4 inches off on Josie's head. The lady cutting her hair said Josie was the first 3 year old to actually sit and listen quietly to instructions. So proud of our big little girl. After a quick dinner we headed to Meet the Teacher night. Phillip has Mrs Nguyen for 4th grade, Everett has Mrs Sanders for 3rd, and Evelyn has Mrs Lasky for 1st grade. Seems like the kids are just following in their older siblings paths! Phillip had Mrs Sanders and Everett had Mrs Lasky! We dropped off supplies, met the teachers, I signed a bunch of papers, and got new school t-shirts for the year. I'm still considering a Montessori school for Evelyn, she was still #2 on the waiting list. As I spoke with Isla's mom about Evelyn, I got a jolt of "Yes" this is a good choice for Evelyn to stay at Sonoma Ranch.

The last day before school we spent running errands. It was raining when we got up, a nice cool monsoon rain. The kids busted out bikes, umbrellas, boxes, to play in the welcome rain. I hated that they had to cut their time short due to errands we had to get finished that morning. Everett slipped in the rain on his bike. A kind neighbor helped him back up, he was injured (sort of) when he remembered he was injured. We stopped first at a new orthodontist to check out Amelia and Everett's mouths. Everett has a narrow palate, needs braces to stretch out his bridge. Amelia, the expensive child, needs $6k worth of braces and stretchers to get her mouth fixed up. She has one tooth growing behind her front teeth! The kids were thrilled to get free slushies. Next we went to outfit the kids with new PE shoes for the year. I called the front office at GCA a couple times to figure out what shoes Amelia could wear that were in uniform code. I stepped into Bath and Body Works to treat myself to some birthday lotions, my supply of Rose scented lotion was critically low. We drove out to a uniform supply store for an order I placed, turns out it was not ready yet, so that was a wasted errand. It was lunch time and we were a good 30 minutes away from home by this time, so we took advantage of Sweet Tomatoes cheap "feed your kid" lunch. The kids were thrilled with eating at a buffet, getting seconds, thirds, and fourths. I cannot go into a buffet restaurant without remembering my brother John's famous buffet gorge session. It's famous. Right after I got Josie down for a nap, then raced off to get another mammogram. That ordeal took 3 hours of my life, two mammograms and an ultrasound just to determine my right breast has dense tissue. Welp, guess I'm still healthy and cancer free. The kids all dressed up for Harry Potter's birthday. Brooke LaBarr invited anyone over to celebrate with chocolate frogs and butter beer! So we went to celebrate in style.

Thursday morning was a race of nerves, excitement, and GAH! School! I took the kids to school that first day. We were racing out of the house by 7 am to get Mia to school. We were almost at the school when Mia went white in the face, she forgot her school map and schedule, both critical on her first day. Getting back home was a slow process with ramped up traffic around all schools. We made it home and got her back to school just moments before the first bell rang. Talk about a nerve wracking way to start Jr High. The other kids were right on time for their new 8:10 bell ring. We parked and got 1st day of school photos at the mascot and by their teacher signs on the play yard. Josie was begging for a nap already!

I made a snap decision to potty train Josie right after the kids were dropped off. We came home and the diaper came off. I've never had an easier potty trained kid. I was expecting weeks of crying, wet and dirty accidents all over my floors, etc. She did cry most of the day wanting her diapers back. I dressed her in a play dress with nothing underneath just so she could quickly sit on the potty. She mostly cried but would sit. She peed in her diaper at nap time. That girl can hold it! I offered her lots of water, milk, and yogurt drinks she loves. She finally could not hold it and peed on the garage floor after dinner. Later that evening she made a poop in the the potty!!!! Josie was quite in love with potty treats, that made it worth her while. Since then she's only had one accident. Yay!!! She hates undies so we'll see if that changes.

I had to make an after dinner run to Target to buy all of Amelia's school supplies listed on her fancy syllabus for each class. She worked on all her homework from the first day. Figuring out the new schedules is quite challenging. Amelia will catch the bus from here on out at the high school. Justin drops her off and I pick her (and Zoe, sometimes Chloe) up. Zoe and Amelia both went to see Mary Poppins for YW this week, to watch Siona and Hannah perform. The girls came home quite late but thrilled with the performance.

Friday Josie did much better with the potty. She actually used it when I told her to go sit down. I got a call from the Montessori school that Evelyn made it in on Thursday. I was all ready to send her last week but after that spiritual zing on Tuesday night that Sonoma would work I was all sorts of confused. The worst choices seem to be the ones of good vs good. Spent a chunk of time praying and sorting out the pros and cons. In the end I chose to send Evelyn to the Montessori school. It's something I think she will excel at and enjoy the atmosphere there better than a traditional classroom. After school we headed to a Meet the Teacher at MEC (Montessori Education Center) to meet Ms Nikki, Ms Lindzie, and Ms Bri her three teachers in the 4B classroom. The classroom was pretty fun with lots of colors, corners dedicated to different themes. As I was considering which direction to go Stephanie Tobler told me the best indication of success at school is a parent who cares and loves the child. Really, it does not matter where she goes in the end because she has support and love.

Saturday the boys spent a few hours outside mowing the lawns and getting the yard work in order. Amelia and I worked to get the house cleaned up inside. Evelyn got to play with her friend Taylor. I got some time alone at Goodwill "dropping off donations" wink. We celebrated my 42nd birthday with family dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. Everett could not remember the name, so called OSF as the Old Noodle Factory. The kids were talking about how gross old noodles would taste, Phillip was actually a bit queasy. Amelia was convinced we were about to see pasta in the making. Josie went potty in a public toilet! Best news of the day! Dinner was quite disappointing, I think my memories of OSF were better than the reality. At least the Italian soda and spumoni were hard to mess up. Outside the restaurant we played with some large games like Chess, corn hole, Jenga, and a small splash pad. That was fun to get our wiggles out. While getting ready for bed, Justin spotted a blur of white in our bedroom. Crunchwrap was still alive! He was a hard booger to catch, he was living under our bed eating the food storage. Justin laid on the bed, I coaxed him out with a trail of food and his food bowl filled up. Justin caught him with the exercise ball. Phillip was thrilled to have his pet alive and thriving. Such a silly story. 

Sunday church and potty training went extremely well! Evelyn was so deathly afraid of public toilets I was unsure how Josie would take to using a large toilet. No problems! Now she has a pass to get out of sacrament meeting. We had Chloe with us at church. Yay. Sunday Call dinner was at the Chandler Calls. I made TWO birthday cakes for myself, it's hard to choose so make two favorites. I made lethal peppermint cake and a raspberry j-ello cake. While at the Calls I told everyone Josie had an announcement to make, I pulled up her dress to show off her new undies....except the undies were gone. Little stinker took of the undies before we left home because the wrong princess was decorating her undies. I blushed over that blunder. Good thing we all had little girls. We quite enjoy having Wendy and Tyler (plus two girls) as new family in our Sunday celebrations.